UAE sentences Israeli woman to death for drug possession

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The UAE has sentenced an Israeli woman to death for drug possession. Photo: Caspas Benson.
The UAE has sentenced an Israeli woman to death for drug possession. Photo: Caspas Benson.
Caspar Benson
  • Fidaa Kiwan was arrested after a half a kilogramme of cocaine was found in her Dubai home.
  • Kiwan's family said that she was beaten into confessing that the drugs belonged to her.
  • Her legal team is expected to file an appeal in the coming 30 days. 

The United Arab Emirates has sentenced an Israeli woman to death for drug possession, her lawyer said Tuesday, adding that she would appeal the decision.

Fidaa Kiwan, a 43-year-old Arab Israeli photographer from the northern port city of Haifa, was arrested after half a kilogramme of cocaine was found in her Dubai home last year.

Her family said the drugs did not belong to her, with her brother telling public Israeli broadcaster Kan she was beaten into confessing.

Kiwan's Israeli attorney Tami Ullmann said the team would file an appeal in the coming 30 days.

"Beyond that, we're working with all the authorities, in Israel and the world, to help her," Ullmann told AFP.

The Israeli foreign ministry said it was involved in the case "via the department of Israelis abroad in the consular division and the Israeli representation in the United Arab Emirates."

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A friend of Kiwan told AFP that she had been living in the West Bank city of Ramallah prior to Dubai.

"She's a good person and doesn't deserve this," the friend said on condition of anonymity, expressing hope that Israel would rally to help her, as happened when a US-Israeli Jewish woman was convicted in Russia in 2019 for drug possession.

Naama Issachar was released after the involvement of then-premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

When Issachar was jailed, "Israel - not just the government, also the public - did everything until they finally released her," the friend said.

"Let's see what they'll do for Fidaa, and what the Arab Knesset (parliament) members can do."

Israel and the UAE reached a normalisation deal in 2020 as part of a series of US-brokered agreements known as the Abraham Accords.

Trade between the two countries last year totalled some $900 million dollars, according to Israeli figures.

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