Israeli receives death penalty in UAE for drug possession

Fida Kewan's sibling alleged she was "tormented and beaten" in Emirati prison as he called for the Foreign Ministry to intervene.

A line of cocaine is seen being snorted through a rolled up dollar. (photo credit: DANIEL FOSTER/FLICKR)
A line of cocaine is seen being snorted through a rolled up dollar.
(photo credit: DANIEL FOSTER/FLICKR)

An Israeli woman was sentenced to death in a court in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday for possessing half a kilogram (1.1 lbs.) of cocaine.

The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Fida Kewan from Haifa, arrived in Abu Dhabi in March of last year. Her apartment was searched within a week of her arrival by police, who found the drugs and arrested her.

Kewan claimed that the drugs were not hers. Her lawyer is expected to file an appeal. In the UAE, death penalties are usually not carried out and are instead replaced with another penalty, most often a prolonged prison sentence.

Kewan was “tormented and beaten” to make her confess to the crimes, her brother, Khaled, told KAN News. “[Emirati authorities] did not let us see her.... She is on her own and was blamed for the entire case which has nothing to do with her.”

Her sibling added that Kewan is currently on a hunger strike due to the alleged treatment she received while being detained in Abu Dhabi.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which Khaled said was contacted by the family, said it is aware of the incident and is handling it.

 Flags of United Arab Emirates and Israel flutter during Israel's National Day ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai, in Dubai (credit: REUTERS/CHRISTOPHER PIKE) Flags of United Arab Emirates and Israel flutter during Israel's National Day ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai, in Dubai (credit: REUTERS/CHRISTOPHER PIKE)

A number of Israelis have been caught smuggling drugs into the UAE since the Abraham Accords were signed.

Last year, Khalil Dasuki, a resident of Lod, was arrested in Dubai for attempting to smuggle $136 million worth of pure cocaine, with Dubai Police calling it the largest drug seizure in the region at the time.

Dubai Police announced then that they had thwarted a smuggling attempt of 1,102 pounds (500 kg.) of pure cocaine recently in an operation named “Scorpion.” The drugs were hidden in a cargo container.

As of February, Dasuki was also facing the possibility of being sentenced to death.