Death sentence for Israeli in UAE overturned

Fidaa Kiwan will likely receive a lengthy prison sentence in place of execution as attorneys work to bring her back to Israel.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The death sentence of an Israeli woman who was recently convicted of drug trafficking in the United Arab Emirates has been overturned by a Dubai appeals court, her attorney said on Tuesday.

In a statement to Kan News, Fidaa Kiwan’s attorneys Tami Ullman and Shadi Saruji said the move was “a humane decision, and a right one.”

They added that she will likely receive a lengthy prison sentence and that they would pursue options to allow Kiwan to serve some of that time in an Israeli correctional facility.

Saruji and Ullman pledged that they “will do everything to bring her to Israel as quickly as possible.”

Kiwan, an Arab-Israeli from the northern city of Haifa, was found with half a kilogram of cocaine in her rented Dubai apartment last year.

Emirati police say that she was caught on video selling cocaine to an undercover officer, which sparked a search of her apartment that turned up massive amounts of the illicit drug.

In April 2022, Kiwan was sentenced to death for the offense, triggering calls from her family for Israeli government intervention in the matter.

After the death sentence was issued, backroom negotiations between Emirati officials and their Israeli counterparts took place, with Regional Cooperation Minister Essawi Freij reportedly advocating for her sentence to be commuted to prison time.

According to Hebrew language reports, Kiwan is a vocal anti-Zionist and had originally refused to meet with Israeli consular officials and diplomats.

Her family has repeatedly complained that the Israeli government is neglecting her case due to her Arab ethnicity.

In May 2022, Kiwan’s attorney, Ahmed Almazrouei, released a video statement indicating that her death sentence had been frozen until the appeal process ran 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.