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A British football coach has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after four small bottles of vaping liquid containing cannabis oil were found in his car.
Billy Hood, from Notting Hill, West London, received the harsh sentence despite being able to prove that the vape liquid belonged to a visiting friend who had mistakenly left it in his car.
The 24-year-old fitness fanatic, who is anti-drug and does not smoke, was convicted by a drug trafficking court with intent to supply.wikipedia
The Dubai police are believed to have singled out Hood after monitoring WhatsApp messages and searching for drug-related keywords. A week before his arrest, the friend who had the vaping liquid sent a message telling Hood that he had mistakenly left it in his car.
British football coach Billy Hood, 24, from London (pictured) has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after four small bottles of vape liquid containing cannabis oil were found in his car.
It was revealed last week that Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed had used spyware to hack the phone of his ex-wife and his lawyer, Baroness Shackleton, while a custody hearing was being held in High Court.
The United Arab Emirates are known to be users of the Israeli-made spyware known as Pegasus.
Hood, who played semi-professional soccer for Kensington and Ealing Borough FC, was shocked when police unexpectedly showed up at his apartment in January and demanded to search his home and company car.
Four small vape liquid vials containing cannabis oil (CBD) and a vape pen were later found in the passenger door compartment.
After his arrest, Hood volunteered to take a urine drug test that came back negative.
Vaping liquid containing CBD (cannabis oil) is sold in major UK stores and is perfectly legal, although it must contain less than 0.2% THC, which is the ingredient that leads users to “get high.” “.
Cannabis and cannabis oil are illegal in Dubai, where there is zero tolerance for drugs.
Billy said: ‘I don’t smoke vape pens, cigarettes or even sheesha. I am very anti-drug and spend my days training in schools with children.
“I had just moved to a new house in Dubai and went to get a phone charger from my car when suddenly the police approached me.
“They jumped to arrest me, they handcuffed me. An officer pointed a taser at me and threatened to use it if I did not cooperate.
“They demanded that I show them where the drugs were. I was shocked and confused and told them that I was not in possession of any drugs. ”
Hood said one of the officers who arrested him said they were interested in him on social media, but did not take his phone or computer from him. He maintains that the vape liquid was not mentioned on social media, but rather in a WhatsApp message.
Police also found a few thousand pounds of cash in his apartment, but Hood’s employers told police they had paid him the money while he was opening his bank account.
The pressure group Detained in Dubai, which represents the family, believes that the only explanation for the police to show up without warning could be that the authorities monitor WhatsApp and read the message about the vape liquid.
Hood was detained at a police station for four days, where he was told that if he did not sign a confession written in Arabic, he would never be allowed to leave.
Family members said that he was so scared and tired that he agreed without knowing that he had admitted to such serious crimes.
When Hood appeared in court last week and he was convicted of drug smuggling, possession and supply and received the maximum sentence.
His concerned family is pinning their hopes on him in an appeal next week where lawyers will argue that he was bullied into signing the confession and prove there is no evidence that the vape liquid was his.
His brother Alex told Mail Online: ‘It has been difficult to deal with Billy’s ongoing arrest and the idea that he could be in prison for as long as 50 years.
“You couldn’t meet anyone more fitness-focused than Billy. He has never been high and doesn’t even smoke. We never thought that moving to Dubai could be a one-way ticket. ”
The family criticizes the British embassy in Dubai, who say they have not visited Billy during the nine months that he has been imprisoned. ”
Breda, Hood’s 52-year-old mother, said: ‘I have hidden myself crying and crying when I think about what my son is going through.
“It is impossible that he is involved in drugs and my son does not deserve it and I am calling on Sheikh Mohammed to intervene in this case. My son is innocent. ”
Radha Sterling, Founder of Detainees in Dubai, said: The handling of drug cases by the Dubai police has resulted in numerous unjust arrests of foreign nationals.
“We have seen people arrested and even convicted without evidence, often on the basis of a forced confession in Arabic or from some third party.
“Drug convictions are prestigious for the police leading to promotions and the courts do not need substantial evidence to secure a conviction. It is almost impossible for foreign nationals to get a fair hearing and false accusations are commonplace. ”
Billy Hood Quick and Facts
- Footballer Billy Hood, 24, from London, sentenced to 25 years in prison in Dubai
- Police found vape liquid containing CBD oil in his car after monitoring WhatsApp
- Billy is anti-drugs and doesn’t smoke, and the vape belonged to a visiting friend
- Cannabis and cannabis oil is illegal in Dubai and there is zero tolerance to drugs