Man arrested for cbd oil

Billy Hood: Man sentenced to 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil ‘hoping and praying’ for release

Billy Hood, 24, from Kensington, London, was working as a football coach in the UAE country when police discovered four small bottles of CBD oil and a vape pen in his car and arrested him on 31 January.

Saturday 16 October 2021 19:51, UK

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A young man sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in Dubai for possessing CBD oil says he is “praying” and “hoping” authorities will “see the light” and release him.

Billy Hood, 24, from Kensington, London, was working as a football coach in the UAE country when police discovered four small bottles of the oil derived from cannabis, and a vape pen, in his car and arrested him on 31 January.

He was convicted of drug trafficking with intent to supply by a court and has been held ever since.

Mr Hood’s mother Breda Guckion and brother Alex Hood were speaking to Sky News when he phoned from Dubai.

He described how he has been forced to sleep on the floor for the last eight days, without access to anyone who speaks English and meagre food, while he awaits his appeal hearing.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” he said.

“I’m calling for help from the UK government and foreign secretary, if they could get me home safely it would be much appreciated.

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“Every day I’m praying, I’m hoping, hoping someone will see the light and justice will be served,” he added.

CBD oil is legal in the UK but because it sometimes contains trace elements of THC – the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis – it is not tolerated under the UAE’s strict drug laws.

Mr Hood says the bottles and vape pen were left in his car by a friend he had driven to the airport two weeks prior to his arrest, and that he was forced to sign a confession written in Arabic after being held in appalling conditions for four days.

He says he was refused a translator and told he would not be released from his cell, where he was held with 30 other men and given only bread and water, unless he signed the document.

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On signing it he was taken to a “police station and kept in an isolation cell for 14 days without any hygiene products”, he told campaign group Detained in Dubai.

“Forced and coerced confessions are commonplace in Dubai,” said Radha Stirling, chief executive of the group, who are representing the family.

His family and friends have been fighting to get him released and home for the last eight-and-a-half months but say they have had little help from the foreign office.

“We’ve had zero support from the embassy, they don’t want to know,” mum Breda said.

“He is just another young kid gone out there… yes he has gone out there but Billy wanted to have a better life for himself and he has done that and now look, now you get no help from no one.”

The United Arab Emirates government said in response: “The General Directorate for Drug Control (GDDC) received a tip-off that Mr Billy Hood, possessed quantities of synthetic cannabis oil with the intention of selling.

“Consequently, M. Hood was apprehended on 2 February 2021 and then charged with drug trafficking, following the search of the vehicle he was driving.

“Mr Hood was found to be in possession of quantities of synthetic cannabis oil, known scientifically as ‘MDMB-4en-PINACA’. The police search of Mr Hood’s vehicle found the cannabis oil, substantial amounts of cash, an electronic hookah, various storage bottles and boxes, and 570 individual cartridges to be used for substance vaping.

“Mr Hood was convicted based on evidence including the items found in his possession, information on his phone, third party statement, and his own confession.”

It added that Mr Hood had access to an interpreter at all times, his ruling was made in accordance with UAE law, and that the substance in question has no therapeutic use.

An appeal hearing is set for next Tuesday and the family are pinning all their hopes that it will see Billy’s release.

Echoing Billy’s call for justice, Breda said: “I know for a fact Boris Johnson has children like I have, I hope to God he is never in my situation because it could easily be someone else’s son or someone else’s son, someone else’s daughter.

“So I’m begging him from the bottom of my heart help bring Billy home.”

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Speaking about the moment she heard he son had been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, Breda, who is 55, said: “I broke down. I still don’t try to think its 25 years because when you do it’s shattering and it’s heartbreaking.

Image: The football coach says the oil was left in his car by a friend visiting from London. Pic: Detained in Dubai

“It’s something that we know is there but we don’t talk about it.

“We try to believe he won’t do 25 years because it’s crazy. He won’t be [home] until he is 49… His nan is 86, she will never see him again. Will I see him again? I don’t know… that’s why we have to bring him home.”

Speaking about the appeal hearing on Tuesday, Alex added: “We are hoping a judge can look through the case properly… and actually realise and see the truth of this that it doesn’t deserve a 25-year sentence.

“Drug trafficking into the country – that’s crazy… hopefully the judge can see what really happened.

“The truth is a friend that was visiting Dubai a few days before [Billy’s] arrest left the vapes in Billy’s car as he dropped him to the airport, that was it.”

He added: “Billy doesn’t take drugs, he never has, but as Billy has explained… this was not his oil. The oils were not his…There is no evidence he was selling them. The only evidence is a confession signed in Arabic – nothing else.”

The family want the UK government to lend their assistance to make sure Billy is freed.

Breda said: “Our only hope is that someone else higher up in the government, the foreign secretary, somebody has to step in now. It’s down to them we can’t do anything”

“It is up to them, if they want to do something about it, they can.”

The family are holding a peaceful protest on Saturday outside parliament to put pressure on the government to act.

A GoFundMe set up in Billy’s name has raised over £15,000 and a petition to free him has attracted over 3,600 signatures.

A spokesperson form the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned in the UAE.”

Man Jailed for 25 Years In Dubai Over Small Amount of CBD Vape Oil

A 24-year-old British football coach has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after police found a small amount of CBD vape oil in his car.

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Billy Hood claims he was forced to sign a false confession to trafficking the drug, which is legal to vape in the UK and is usually used for treating pain.

Although it does not get you high, CBD, a chemical found in cannabis, is illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because it contains trace elements of THC, the psychoactive component of weed.

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“There are two crimes here,” said George McBride, managing director of Hanway Associates, a UK-based cannabis industry consultancy. “Forcing someone to sign a false confession & possession of a harmless medicine. One crime will ruin the culprit’s life and the other will likely go unpunished. The drug war turns police into gangsters and patients into criminals. Boycott the UAE.”

Hood, a former semi-pro player from west London, worked as a football coach in the UAE before his arrest in January. It is a country notorious for its ultra zero-tolerance stance on drug-related offences.

In 2017 another British man, Connor Clements, 24 at the time, was sentenced to two years in jail after he moved to Dubai and took a drug test which showed he’d consumed cannabis.

In 2008 Keith Brown, a council youth development officer from the West Midlands, famously was sentenced to four years after customs officers in Dubai found a speck of cannabis smaller than a grain of sugar stuck onto the soul of his shoe.

UAE is one of a collection of countries that hand out the death penalty for some drug offences, although the last time it executed someone for a drug crime was 2016.

This week a court in Singapore, where at least 27 people are in jail awaiting to be hanged for drug offences, dismissed the appeal of a man against a death sentence of hanging for allegedly smuggling 1kg of weed. In April Vice World News revealed Singapore and Indonesia were sentencing drug offenders to death over Zoom calls.

“The UAE promotes itself as a glamorous ‘party place’ to foreigners with marketing designed to lure over investors, skilled labour and tourists,” said Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai who is helping Hood and his family. “Celebrities are paid to market the country, ultimately masking the truth for money. Dubai police’s handling of drug cases has resulted in numerous unfair detentions of foreign nationals.”