Israeli sentenced to death in UAE hopes execution not carried out

43-year-old Haifa native Fida Kewan was sentenced to death for drug trafficking after being accused of possessing half a kilogram of cocaine.

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)

The Israeli woman sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates for drug trafficking does not believe the sentence will actually be carried out, she said in an interview on KAN Reshet Bet published Friday.

"I never thought I would be sentenced to death, but I do not think it will happen — it's a modern country," the woman, 43-year-old Haifa native Fida Kewan, told KAN Reshet Bet. However, she added that "It is a decree and is in the system. Execution is something I have read about in books and seen in films."

Kewan, who moved to the UAE a year ago for work, has maintained her innocence against the accusations of possessing half a kilogram of cocaine but was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

A recording released by KAN showed Kewan telling her brother "I am not a drug dealer. I believe that justice will be done, the justice system in the UAE is advanced."

She also sent another appeal to Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to intervene, saying that "A terrible mistake was made here, and if he checks the details himself I'm sure he can help me. I'm scared and I want to go home," according to KAN.

 Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrives at Downing Street, London, Britain, September 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY) Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrives at Downing Street, London, Britain, September 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY)

The Foreign Ministry is aware of the incident and has spoken to her several times. Whether they are able to intervene and avert the execution from being carried out remains to be seen.

A number of crimes carry the death penalty in the current laws on the books in the UAE, including drug trafficking. Foreign nationals have been executed by the UAE in the past.

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.