Final ruling: 25 years in UAE prison for Israeli woman

The ruling specified that Fidaa Kiwan is no longer entitled to additional appeals for her case, marking an official end to her legal saga.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

After a dramatic court battle which saw an Arab-Israeli woman sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the United Arab Emirates, a Dubai court ruled Tuesday that the offender must spend a minimum of 25 years in prison and is no longer entitled to file appeals in her case.

Fidaa Kiwan, who is from the northern Israel city of Haifa, was caught on hidden camera selling cocaine to an undercover Emirati police officer in March 2021. A subsequent raid of her apartment turned up more than half a kilogram of cocaine, with a street value of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Gulf kingdom, which has some of the world’s strictest drug laws, sentenced Kiwan to death in May 2022.

Kiwan, an outspoken anti-Zionist who made headlines in 2011 for refusing to serve an IDF soldier in uniform at the café she once owned, originally refused help from Israeli officials due to her political beliefs.

However, after her death sentence was handed down, Kiwan agreed to allow Israeli diplomats, including Arab Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Essawi Freij, to lobby the Emirati government on her behalf.

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Despite Kiwan’s refusal to cooperate with Israeli authorities for a significant amount of time, her family said the Israeli government hadn’t done enough to help her and was neglecting her case due to her Arab ethnicity.

In late June 2022, an Emirati court officially commuted Kiwan’s sentence from death to life in prison, a move which her lawyers called “a humane decision, and a right one.”

However, Kiwan’s supporters have been seeking an arrangement that would see her repatriated to Israel to serve out her sentence.

Any hopes of Kiwan being incarcerated in a correctional facility in the Jewish State were officially extinguished on Tuesday, as the Emirati court ruled she must serve at least 25 years of her life sentence before she can be paroled or deported to Israel.

The ruling specified that Kiwan is no longer entitled to additional appeals for her case, marking an official end to her legal saga.