A 24-year-old British man has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for having a CBD oil vape pen in his car. While Billy Hood tested negative for any drugs following his arrest and the oil in the pen as merely a trace amount with no THC, he was forced to sign a confession in Arabic that he didn’t understand or potentially never be released from prison. He now faces a very long legal battle to try and regain his freedom.
Detained in Dubai
- Police in Dubai seemed to have targeted Billy Hood for reasons unknown. In a statement released via his lawyers, he said: “I had just moved to a new home in Dubai and went to get a phone charger from my car when I was suddenly approached by police. They jumped out to arrest me, handcuffed me. One officer pointed a taser at me, threatening to use it if I did not cooperate. They demanded I show them where the drugs were. I was shocked and confused and told them I wasn’t in possession of any drugs.”
- Hood doesn’t even smoke and told the police as much. Hood said he told the police he doesn’t smoke vape pens, cigarettes, or sheesha and is very anti-drugs. In fact, he even spends his days coaching in schools with kids. The vape pen was left behind in his car by a friend who texted him to tell him he’d accidentally forgotten it in the vehicle.
- Hood’s lawyers believe authorities were monitoring the text messages. Attorneys from Detained in Dubai, who are representing Hood, say the only way the police could have targeted Billy Hood’s car was if they’d been reading his texts. “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,” said the organization’s founder, Radha Sterling. “Drug convictions are prestigious for police leading to promotions and the courts do not need substantial evidence to secure a conviction.”
- Hood’s mom Brenda is absolutely beside herself. As she told The Sun following her son’s sentencing: “I don’t think there’s a word in the dictionary that describes the pain I’m going through. I can’t talk about it without tears forming in my eyes. It’s too hard to take in.”