After being convicted of drug charges a year ago, an Israeli woman named Fidaa Kiwan has been released by the United Arab Emirates and flown home. Israel praised the pardon as a “special gesture” to President Isaac Herzog, who had asked for her release. Ms. Kiwan was initially sentenced to death for possession of cannabis and cocaine, but her sentence was later reduced to life in prison. In 2020, the US brokered a deal for Israel and the UAE to normalize relations.
While on a work visit to Dubai, an Arab-Israeli photographer named Ms. Kiwan was arrested and found in possession of 50g of cocaine and 500g of cannabis, though she denied that the cocaine was hers. President Herzog of Israel asked for her pardon, which was eventually granted by the UAE president. After her release, President Herzog expressed his gratitude and wished the UAE president a peaceful month of Ramadan.
Israel normalized relations with several Arab countries under the US-brokered agreement called the Abraham Accords. Since then, ties between the UAE and Israel have strengthened, with increased trade and Israeli tourists visiting Dubai. However, the UAE maintains a strict anti-drug policy, and even small amounts of drugs can lead to significant fines or imprisonment. The UK Foreign Office warns travelers of the risks associated with drug possession in the UAE.