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The heartbroken parents of a British footballer who was sentenced to 25 years in a Dubai prison have pleaded for his release on his 25th birthday.
Billy Hood was a British semi-pro footballer and coach who was jailed in the Middle Eastern country after police discovered CBD oil in his car.
Yesterday, his parents Brenda and Alexander gathered with supporters outside Dubai's biggest Luxury Property Show in London yesterday and called for the 25-year-old's freedom.
"It’s Billy’s birthday," Breda told the crowd gathering at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge.
"He’s 25 and he’s stuck in a prison in Dubai for 25 years.
"We just want to wish him a happy birthday and there’s so much love for him and we’re always thinking of him."
Alexander told the crowd that the family wanted "justice for all these people who are incarcerated in this place that is supposed to be a dream."
He continued: "Dubai, the dreams of what? The dreams of hell, the place is. Get them all home, please. Please get him home."
Last month, Billy was sentenced after the police found four bottles of CBD vape oil in his car, which Billy claimed was left there by a friend.
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Speaking to the Sun, Brenda shared her fears that she may never get to see her son again.
She said: "There is no word in the dictionary to say how I felt [about the sentencing] or what I'm still feeling. It still sticks in my mind.
"He got 25 years? For what? You've taken away his life."
Brenda first discovered that her son was arrested only days after the incident when his friends had reported the football coach missing.
It was only after a few days of making enquiries that they found that he had been arrested.
At first, they didn't think that the arrest was going to be a big deal, which is why they didn't go public with his news for eight or nine months.
"It was stupid. We sort of laughed it off. I know it sounds silly now but that's what we did do. We just thought it was gonna get sorted and he'll be home soon."
- In the News
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