SWEARING, bounced cheques and fake confessions have landed Brits behind bars in hell-hole UAE jails.
Dubai's prisons are famed for their filthy conditions and brutal treatment of their inmates – with beatings, starvation and overcrowding all too common.
But while you might expect prisoners subjected to such torture to be locked up for murder or rape, Brits have been severely punished for seemingly trivial 'crimes'.
Simply sending a message containing a swear word saw one expat facing two years in detention, while a CBD oil used for vaping has seen another banged up for a quarter of a century.
And while in jail, Brits have lived off just bread and water in cells packed with scores of other 'crooks'.
They have also been slapped, deprived of medication, and suffered repeated broken bones – as well as being forced into falsely admitting their 'crimes'.
Football coach Billy Hood moved to the Dubai to teach kids the game, but he is now serving 25 years behind bars after being found with four small bottles of CBD vape oil in his car.
The substance sometimes contains traces of THC – the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis – and is banned in the country, despite being legal and commonly used to relieve pain, stress and anxiety in the UK.
Police reportedly swooped on Billy after seeing something he had posted on social media, with his lawyers claiming they "jumped out" on him while he was getting something from his car and threatened him with a Taser.
Billy, from Ladbroke Grove, West London, was subjected to five days of savage beatings while officers tried to force him to confess to drug crimes, according to his pal Alfie Cain.
Alfie told The Sun Online at the time: "It's been bad, I'm not going to sugar coat it.
"When they took him to the CID drugs unit, they beat him for an entire five days.
"He told me police officers tasered him, slapped him in the face and all they fed him was bread and little bit of water."
He said his friend only signed the drug trafficking confession because officials told him if he signed the document, written in Arabic, they would stop the abuse.
Billy was later transferred to an Abu Dhabi jail – and his family have reportedly not heard from him since.
Grandad Albert Douglas has been trapped in a "filthy" cell since February 16 over a bounced cheque he claims he did not write – and that forensic evidence proved was not his.
It related to alleged debts racked up by his son Wolfgang's failed flooring business – a company Albert had no role in – as Dubai courts can find family members and associates criminally liable for another person's debts.
He was initially sentenced to two years behind bars, but he now faces a further three over the same "fraudulent" document.
Since being locked up, Albert claims to have witnessed cellmates being raped and tortured, and even saw one inmate attempt suicide.
The 60-year-old told his son about how others in his cell were hung upside down and beaten for "sport", while people were also made to drink from a communal toilet.
Albert claims to have been "deprived" of his heart medicine for months on end, as well as having his shoulder dislocated from the brutal beatings.
Speaking to The Sun Online, Albert shared a stark warning to others hoping to start a glamorous new life in Dubai.
"Be aware of what can happen to you," he said. "All that shines isn't gold – I assure you."
William Meyerhoff, who shared a cell with Albert, was said to be "on death's door" in prison.
The great-grandfather was arrested in May during a stop-off on a flight to Australia for a bounced cheque he denies writing.
He worked in Dubai 10 years ago, but was told there were 38 charges against him over cheques made in his name since by an Indian firm he used to work for.
The 72-year-old, from Grimsby, who has dementia and is "largely" deaf, spent nine months living in squalid conditions while crammed into a "filthy" cell and starved of food.
Albert said he was given the duty to care for William, describing him as "skin and bones" when they met.
He said: "He looked like a Jewish Holocaust prisoner of war. He actually said to me one night: 'Let me die. I would be better off.'"
William’s son Matthew, 44, said: "His treatment has been horrific. They can see he is extremely frail. It is like they are trying to kill him."
Thankfully, the pair were transferred from their cell to a two-bedroom apartment within the prison, designed for VIP inmates and Sheikhs who are jailed, according to Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who is representing William.
And in a major U-turn, UAE authorities admitted "we make mistakes" and pledged to free William.
Unnamed HR manager
An unnamed HR manager faced two years in jail for sending her flatmate a WhatsApp message reading "F*** you!".
The then 31-year-old sent the jibe in a row over who used the dining table during lockdown – but the housemate secretly lodged a complaint with police.
In February, the woman was barred from leaving the country and was told she faced a hefty fine or jail.
But the cash-strapped expat had nowhere to live while on bail awaiting trial after sending her belongings home to the UK to start a new job.
She was later allowed to return to her parent's home in Gloucester, and told friends she was putting the "traumatic" experience behind her.
Her ordeal echoed that of Jamil Mukadam's who faced six months behind bars for flipping the middle finger while driving in 2017.
The then 23-year-old flashed the sign, deemed a public obscenity in the UAE, at a raging motorist while behind the wheel of a hire car.
He flew home to Leicester but was later arrested and thrown in a Dubai cell where he spent two days crammed in with more than 170 crooks – including a murderer and a rapist – and was forced to sleep on the floor with no blanket.
He then faced losing his job after the UAE authorities placed him on an Interpol watch list.
Air hostess Derrin Crawford was locked up in a notorious Dubai prison after police allegedly found two cannabis joints in her date's apartment.
The then 23-year-old, who worked for Emirates airline and lived in the UAE, was on a first date with a man when his home was raided by cops.
She was held at a police station for several days before being transferred to Al Barsha in handcuffs – despite blood tests proving she had no drugs in her system.
Derrin, from Liverpool, claimed she was forced to live off just bread and water, and her family said he was forced into a false confession.
Her sister Danielle said at the time: "She is innocent, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
And a friend said: "Derrin is in absolute pieces and all her family and friends are terrified about how she is doing.
"It is now nearly a week since anyone spoke to her. The last time we did she was sobbing saying they kept saying she should 'admit it'."
After two months in detention, Derrin and her family were "delighted" when she was freed.
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