24 year old footballer, Billy Hood, has been moved to Abu Dhabi prison and hasn’t been in ouch since, leaving his family distressed and confused.
Mr Hood’s appeal judgment is scheduled for the 30th of November but Detained in Dubai CEO, says “the judicial process in the UAE can be unpredictable and unexpected delays are commonplace. Adding to the family’s distress is Billy’s transfer to Abu Dhabi with zero contact from him”.
Billy’s mother Breda, told Stirling today “he hasn’t even been able to get in touch with his lawyer. I can’t imagine what he’s going through now. He’s been moved from pillar to post and was just finally relieved to be with other British citizens in Dubai when they suddenly moved him to Abu Dhabi. He’s going through the most stressful time in his entire life and can’t even communicate with his family, his lawyer or the British Embassy.”
Billy was arrested nine months ago and forced to confess to crimes he had not committed, including selling, trafficking and possessing small bottles of CBD vape oil that his friend had accidentally left in his car when being dropped off at the airport. On the basis of the forced confession, authorities charged him with federal crimes causing the matter to be transferred to notoriously ineffecient courts in Abu Dhabi.
The family has applied for a royal pardon via the FCDO and appealed directly to Abu Dhabi’s ruler for clemency. A petition to free Billy Hood has attracted more than 110,000 signatures and the whole of Britain is waiting to see whether this young man’s life will be lost.
“Detained in Dubai has rallied up MP’s to support a parliamentary debate on whether the FCDO should increase travel warnings to the UAE”, added Ms Stirling, “It’s not just about the strict laws themselves, but about forced confessions, unfair trials and an unreliable legal system that can ruin lives like Billy’s. Then we have human rights violations and multiple cases of torture as in the case of Albert Douglas and the late Lee Bradley Brown. It is time the UAE were held to account. Travel warnings that reflect the true situation in the UAE will be a deterrent to British travelers but also an incentive for change in the Gulf state”.
British courts have refused to extradite citizens due to human rights violations, forced confessions and torture while European Parliament has boycotted Dubai’s Expo for the same reasons. “It’s not okay that visitors are mislead by television shows like the upcoming ‘The Real Housewives of Dubai’ and paid celebrity marketing campaigns without any realistic warnings by respective governments towards their citizens”, said Stirling, “the lack of warnings puts citizens in harm’s way”.
The UAE government refused to hand over CCTV evidence from the cell where Lee Bradley Brown was allegedly beaten by police before dying in Bur Dubai police station. “This is telling in itself”, Stirling continued, “If the UAE could have exonerated their culpability through CCTV evidence, we are quite confident they would have shared it with the Coroner”.
The fact is, the UAE has managed to circumvent the UK’s efforts to hold them to account which only makes authorities more likely to reoffend. Albert Douglas, a British grandfather jailed for bounced cheques he didn’t write, was recently admitted to hospital to repair broken bones after being beaten by authorities. This ongoing belligerence puts foreigners in grave danger and they deserve to be warned about Dubai’s hard justice system. “A mini-break in Dubai could literally end one’s life”, confirmed expert witness Radha Stirling, who has testified in Lee Bradley Brown’s new Inquest.
“Billy Hood does not deserve a 25 year sentence for something he did not do. He has already lost a year of his life under traumatic circumstances which will likely haunt him for the rest of his life, even if he is exonerated or pardoned,” confirmed Ms Stirling who has helped in more than fifteen thousands cases since 2008. “I’ve seen the effect unfair detention and persecution has on people who are unlucky enough to see it first hand. I just hope Billy is home before Christmas to begin the healing process”.
Founder & CEO at Detained in Dubai