A British football coach has been sentencedto 25 years in prison in Dubai after police discovered four bottles of vape liquid containing CBD in the trunk of his car.
Billy Hood, 24, of Kensington, was convicted of drug trafficking, sale and possession after claiming to be forced by police to confess in Arabic, a language he does not speak.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it "was providing consular support to a British man imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates ".
The vape oils found in Hood's car on January 31 contained CBD, which is legal in the UK and many other countries, but illegal in the UAE as it contains trace elements of THC, the compoundpsychoactive ant of cannabis. The oils had been purchased in the UK, resulting in a charge of trafficking.
In a statement to the campaign group Detained in Dubai, Hood said that 'he was not aware of the oils in the boot, but thought they had been left behind by a friend from England who had visited a few weeks earlier.
Hood said he was approached by police outside his home, asking to search his home and car for drugs. “I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them I was not aware of or in possession of any drugs or substances, ”he said.
After the discovery of CBD oil, Hood said he was held in solitary confinement for 14 days without any hygiene products. After a week, he was told he would face a second chase.
Hood, who played football semi-pro for Kensington and Ealing Borough FC, said he had a "zero tolerance" on drugs and illegal substances.
The Hood's family is working with Inmate in Dubai and local lawyers to appeal his convictions, which they fund through a GoFundMe page which has raised over £ 11,000 so far.
Her mother, Breda, a 55-year-old teaching assistant, said she experienced "the worst stress I have experienced " in the past nine years. last few months.
She said: "He's always been such a good boy and has never been bothersome. He helps children, coaches and volunteers. He's never done drugs, never ... My son doesn't deserve to lose his whole life because of the CBD oil that wasn't even his. the FCO, et urged the government department to include more information about the criminal justice system in Dubai in its travel warnings. She also urged the UAE government to intervene in the matter.
Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said visitors to the country must be particularly careful not to fall under its zero tolerance drug policy. Recent convictions include possession of poppy seeds, which contain opium alkaloids; medical preions; and traces of drugs taken months before arrival in the country showing in urine tests.
"You can protect yourself by doing strictly be careful what you take, but only to a certain extent because there are always wrongful arrests and the desire of the police to obtain aconviction even if unjustified, ”Stirling said, adding that“ forced and forced confessions are commonplace. ”
The The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates has been contacted for comment.