A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced an Israeli woman to death, after she was found guilty of possessing 500 grams of cocaine. The woman – named by Israeli media as 43-year-old Fidaa Kiwan – is appealing the sentence.
In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: “The case is known and we are handling it through the consular service and our representatives in the Emirates.” It declined to comment further.
Israeli media reported that Kiwan, who owns a photography studio in Haifa in northern Israel, came to Dubai for work about a year ago. She was arrested a week later after police found the cocaine in the apartment she was staying in. Kiwan reportedly claimed the drugs weren’t hers.
CNN has reached out to the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.
Death sentences are rarely carried out in the UAE. Ziv Agmon, an Israeli lawyer specializing in Emirati law, who isn’t involved in this case, told CNN he expected the UAE’s courts to commute the sentence. He added that there is no formal repatriation agreement between the UAE and Israel.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, as part of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020, has led to a surge in Israeli visitors to the UAE. Not all of them have been tourists and businesspeople. “Our Dubai office noticed a rise in criminal cases that Israeli citizens are part of,” said Agmon. “Israelis have to understand that the legal authorities in Dubai treat drug cases seriously.”