Death sentence for drug-trafficking Israeli frozen

Fidaa Kiwan is safe from capital punishment, at least until her appeals are exhausted.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The death sentence of an Arab-Israeli who was convicted of drug trafficking in the United Arab Emirates has been suspended after an initial appeal.

Fida Kiwan, a 43-year-old Haifa native, made headlines in April 2022 after an Emirati court announced she was sentenced to death for possession of more than half a kilogram of cocaine.

Kiwan’s attorney, Ahmed Almazrouei, released a video statement on Tuesday saying that her sentence had been frozen until the appeal process runs its course.

“They postponed the case to next year to submit our defense,” Almazrouei said, noting that under Emirati law, the death sentence will be off the table until all of her appeals are exhausted.

“Recently, I built a new strategy for this case to defend her, and hopefully, the sentence of death will be cancelled after the approval of the appeal,” he added.

Regional Cooperation Minister Essawi Freij said last week that he had approached Emirati officials and asked them to spare Kiwan’s life.

Kiwan’s family insists that she is innocent of the charges and has repeatedly claimed that the Israeli government is not doing enough to intervene on her behalf because of her Arab ethnicity.

However, hidden camera footage submitted to the court by prosecutors showed Kiwan selling drugs to an undercover detective, casting serious doubt on her family’s version of events.

The family’s complaints about Israel’s alleged lack of effort in trying to assist Kiwan have also raised eyebrows, considering that the defendant does not identify with the State of Israel.

Hebrew language media reported that initially after her arrest, Kiwan refused to meet with Israeli officials several times, citing her anti-Zionist beliefs and staunch opposition to the Israeli government.

Kiwan’s brother, who was an employee of one of Israel’s public TV broadcasters, was fired from his job after trashing and vandalizing his workplace because he was enraged by Israeli flags being displayed.

Local news site MyNet Krayot reported that Kiwan is a well-known figure in Haifa who was once the manager and co-owner of Cafe Azad on trendy Hillel Street.

In 2010, Kiwan refused to serve Sergeant Major Raviv Roth because he was wearing an IDF uniform, sparking ire among the local community. The business eventually closed.

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