Photo Credit: Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS

An Israeli-Arab woman serving a life-sentence in the United Arab Emirates on drug trafficking charges was granted amnesty and returned to Israel on Sunday morning.

Fida Kiwan, a 44-year-old woman from Haifa was arrested in Dubai in March, 2021 when Emirati authorities found a half-kilo of cocaine in her apartment. Kiwan, a graphic artist, said the drugs did not belong to her and that she was set up by a “Palestinian” man who hid the cocaine in her apartment.


She was initially sentenced to death, but an appeals court sentenced Kiwan to life in prison.

Despite Kiwan initially refused to accept any assistance from Israel, officials have been working on various channels to mitigate the sentencing of the Israeli citizen.

She was granted clemency by President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in honor of the Islamic month of Ramadan and as a personal gesture to Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who had lobbied for her release.

The President’s office said Herzog was “expressing his gratitude to the UAE president and wishing him, his nation and all our neighbors a month of kindness and peace” for Ramadan.

Although Israel and the UAE have had diplomatic relations since signing the Abraham accords in 2020, the two countries have not yet negotiated any extradition agreements, which complicated Israeli efforts to repatriate Kiwan. News Desk contributed to this report.


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