A crowd of supporters turned up at Dubai’s biggest Luxury Property Show in London yesterday to show their support for Billy Hood, who celebrated his 25th birthday today behind bars and Albert Douglas, a London grandfather who was beaten by prison guards.
Billy Hood was sentenced to 25 years over CBD oil left in his car by a visiting acquaintance after being forced to sign a confession. He now awaits the results of his appeal which are expected to be released next week. His mother Breda spoke outside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge today, saying “It’s Billy’s birthday. 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”. In a heartfelt moment, #FreeBillyHood supporters sang happy birthday then released balloons and called for his freedom.
His father Alexander, from Scotland, spoke to the public, “I’m Billy Hood’s dad. We just want justice for all these people who are incarcerated in this place that is supposed to be a dream, Dubai, the dreams of what? The dreams of hell, the place is. Get them all home, please. Please get him home”.
60 year old grandfather, Albert Douglas, has been held in Dubai for a bounced cheque that has since been forensically proven was not his. The Londoner was severely beaten by prison guards, resulting in a schedule of multiple hospital surgeries for broken bones.
Albert’s son Wolfgang has been tirelessly advocating for his father’s release. In front of the investment show today, he told onlookers, “We’ve come out today, numerous families from numerous atrocities. It does not matter the volume of investment from the Emirates, it does not matter political favours. There is no reason to allow human rights violations. Nobody deserves to be tortured in captivity, to be beaten while bound, no one deserves to have their human rights stripped away from them. We’re here to bring awareness to everyone in that hotel who is supporting Dubai investments, we’re here to make sure that everyone who walks in that room knows that when you sign on the dotted line, you sign your life away. God bless all the poor families who are suffering because the FCDO hasn’t done their job. God bless all the people that sit in that jail, many arbitrarily, subject to solitary confinement, beatings and torture. Whatever type of government do we have to allow that? I am here and so are so many others here today in numbers, in Knightsbridge to see no to human rights violations, to abuse of power. There is no room for dictatorships to invest in the UK and they shouldn’t be allowed to recruit our investment back.”
Dubai property sellers and hotel security felt hard done by, with nobody going inside to see the offerings but Breda told them “my son is in prison for something he didn't do. How would you feel?”
Detained in Dubai CEO, Radha Stirling, said “the UAE can no longer market luxury property in London without disruption. If the FCDO fails to sufficiently warn citizens of the risks involved in traveling to or investing in Dubai, this message must be sent directly to potential future victims of the Gulf nation.
“The Dubai Luxury Property Show 2021 is marketing more than 10,000 properties and we know from experience that many of those investors will end up losing their life savings, their freedom and even their lives.
“The British government needs to encourage the UAE to modernise their justice system to reflect their skyline, rather than assisting them to cover up the abuses. This has to stop.
“More than 150,000 people have signed a petition to Free Billy Hood, making the petition one of the most popular in the history of change.org. British citizens are anticipating the outcome of Billy’s appeal next week and couldn’t be more hopeful for his safe return home.”
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Radha Stirling: http:///www.radhastirling.com
Due Process International http://www.dueprocess.international