Fidaa Kewan, an Arab Israeli citizen from the city of Haifa, who was initially sentenced to death in Dubai for alleged drug trafficking, returned to Israel after being pardoned by the United Arab Emirates.
In March 2022, the UAE sentenced Kewan to death after authorities found 500 grams of cocaine in her possession. Kewan denied the cocaine belonged to her and ultimately the UAE court overturned the death sentence, assigning her instead to life in prison.
In honor of the Muslim month of Ramadan, and following Israeli appeals for clemency, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan pardoned Kewan and allowed her to leave the country.
Kewan, who owns a photography studio in Haifa, was in Dubai after accepting an invitation from a friend to travel there for work. Kewan’s friend described her as “successful and has a great job. We are certain that the drug belonged to someone else, not to her.”
“They should have checked the origins of the drugs instead of tailoring the case to her, which will destroy her life,” her friend said.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog welcomed the UAE’s decision to pardon the Haifa local, saying that Kewan’s family claimed the conviction was linked to her having “fallen victim to a ruse.” Herzog did not elaborate.
Several Israeli citizens have been arrested in the UAE since the it established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020. In 2021, the Dubai police arrested Khalil Dasuki, an Arab Israeli, for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine worth approximately $136 million dollars.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.