Published18 hours ago
The United Arab Emirates has released an Israeli woman a year after she was convicted on drug charges.
Fidaa Kiwan flew home on Sunday. Israel called her pardon a “special gesture” to President Isaac Herzog, who had requested her release.
Ms Kiwan was arrested on April 2021 for possessing cannabis and cocaine. Her initial death sentence was reduced to life in prison on appeal.
Israel and the UAE normalised relations under a US-brokered deal in 2020.
Ms Kiwan, an Arab-Israeli photographer, was visiting Dubai for work when she was arrested.
According to prosecutors, she was found with 50g of cocaine and 500g of cannabis. She said the cocaine was not hers.
President Herzog urged his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, to pardon her.
After the release, Mr Herzog thanked the UAE president and wished him “a month of kindness and peace” for Ramadan.
Under the US-brokered agreement, known as the Abraham Accords, Israel normalised relations with several Arab countries.
Ties between UAE and Israel have flourished since, with trade growing and Israeli tourists flocking to Dubai.
The UAE, a popular holiday destination, has a strict anti-drugs policy. The UK Foreign Office warns that even possession of small amounts of drugs can result in hefty fines or prison sentences.