New Dubai Drug Laws for Billy Hood?
2021 saw the arrest of Peter Clark and Billy Hood. Peter was arrested for “possession” when his blood tests returned positive for hashish he had consumed in Las Vegas, long before his trip to Dubai. Peter was released following widespread criticism of the harsh laws of possession that essentially render them extraterritorial in nature.
Billy Hood was charged with trafficking, selling and possessing tiny bottles of CBD vape oil that were left in his car by a negligent visiting friend as Billy dropped him off at the airport. The facts are, the police had zero evidence of trafficking and their evidence of selling was that Billy had £2,000 in cash in his apartment, later proved to be payment from his wages as a sports coach. Billy’s blood tests all returned negative but he has remained in jail for a year, desperately trying to challenge courts to take his case seriously rather than assume guilt and hand over maximum sentences. Billy’s 25 year sentence has now been reduced to 10 years but Dubai’s new laws, even if they assumed his guilt, would have seen him “fined” or “deported”.
Billy’s family have been hoping that UAE authorities will intervene in Billy’s case and give him special consideration in light of the new laws. His mother Breda has asked the UK’s Ambassador to the UAE to convey her heartfelt plea to review her son’s case. “I am begging the UAE rulers to look at Billy’s case. If Billy had been arrested this year instead of last, he wouldn’t have spent any time in jail according to the new laws. Please give my boy back”.
Felicity Buchan, MP, has escalated Billy's case to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and the UK's Ambassador Patrick Moody, calling for intervention in his case.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai has been working with the UK to try to secure Billy’s freedom. “Billy’s case has been raised at the highest levels of the British government and they have assured us they are raising it with their counterparts in the UAE. The UAE has made positive changes to the law that will help prevent many unnecessary arrests in the future and it would be a show of benevolence to release Billy Hood.
“The public support behind his case has been strong, with more than 168000 signatures on a petition to free Billy. His case has been raised in Parliament and his family are committed to doing everything possible to bring him home.
“We hope in light of these new laws, that the UAE government sees Billy’s case as an opportunity to show their progression and vision for the future.”
An appeal has been submitted by Billy's legal team but the family hope he will be released on the basis of these new laws, rather than waiting months