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UAE overturns death sentence given to an Israeli citizen accused of drug smuggling

Fidaa Kiwan will instead receive a prison sentence; ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg pleaded with UAE president for mercy last month in an open letter

Fidaa Kiwan (Photo courtesy)

An Abu Dhabi Court has withdrawn the death sentence given to an Israeli citizen who was convicted of drug trafficking.

Fidaa Kiwan will instead receive a prison sentence after the court accepted an appeal from her attorney, according to reports in Israeli media.

Kiwan was arrested in March 2021 and sentenced to death in April. The 43-year-old Haifa resident who owns a photography studio, went to Dubai for work at the invitation of a Palestinian acquaintance a year ago. She was accused of smuggling half a kilogram of cocaine into the United Arab Emirates, but claimed that the drugs she was caught with did not belong to her.

Last month, ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg published an open letter to the UAE’s ruler, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, pleading to overturn Kiwan’s death penalty.

“... I am also writing to Your Highness to humbly request that your first act as president would be to show mercy to an Israeli woman who was recently arrested and convicted in the UAE for drug possession,” Rosenberg wrote.

“I cannot say whether she is guilty of the charges against her, as I do not have first-hand familiarity with all the facts of the case. However, if she is truly guilty of the crimes alleged against her, I would ask you to repeal the death sentence against her. Rather than put Ms. Kiwan to death, please sentence her to a lengthy prison sentence,” read the letter.

Rosenberg stressed that “tolerance, kindness and compassion” would be appreciated by Jewish and Christian Israelis, who care deeply about the Abraham Accords that normalized ties between Israel and the UAE.

The UAE is known for its strict anti-drug laws. Although the Gulf state often deals death sentences to those breaking such laws, they are frequently commuted to a long imprisonment instead.

Read more: UAE

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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