On Sunday, March 26, 2023, the UAE authorities released an Arab-Israeli photographer who had been sentenced to life in prison for drug possession, according to what her lawyer and the Israeli presidency confirmed to AFP.
Fida Kiwan, 43, was arrested in Dubai in 2021 and initially sentenced to death for possession of 50 grams of cocaine and half a kilogram of marijuana.
Last July, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, which in the UAE reaches 25 years.
A statement by the Office of the President of the State in Israel confirmed that Emirati President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a decision to release Kiwan, after the intervention of his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog.
A spokesman for the Israeli president said that Kiwan had obtained a “presidential pardon from bin Zayed in a special gesture by President Herzog, who requested her release.”
According to Elon Levy, the Israeli president’s office coordinated arrangements for Kiwan’s release with the Israeli embassy in the UAE.
Kiwan’s lawyer, Tammy Ullmann, said her client arrived in Israel Sunday at 3:00 am (0000 GMT).
“I am very grateful to both presidents, they did a very good job,” Ullmann told AFP.
UAE authorities did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment on the case.
Israel and the UAE reached an agreement to normalize relations in 2020 as part of a series of agreements concluded with US mediation and called the “Abraham Accords”.