Palestinian woman sentenced to death in UAE 'fell victim to her blind trust', family says
The family of a Palestinian woman sentenced to death in the UAE after being convicted for drug possession have said their daughter has hired a Haifa-based lawyer to lodge an appeal, saying she is a victim.
Fida Kiwan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested in Dubai in March 2021 after half a kilogram of cocaine was found at a rented apartment she was staying in.
After spending the last year in prison, Kiwan was handed a death sentence for drug possession on 30 March.
"We, the family and friends of Fida Kiwan, were stunned twice this week," Kiwan's family said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Once when we learned of the death sentence issued against Fida, and secondly when we saw and read the incorrect information that was unfairly spread, without investigating the accuracy or truth, or even listening to the family's story."
The statement added that this was why they decided to issue a public message.
The family had not spoken to the media during the past year on advice from the Israeli foreign ministry, which felt this would "harm the case".
"Fida is an energetic woman with a rich and successful career. She worked in photography and graphic design, and organised dozens of art exhibitions, and cultural and educational evenings," the statement continued.
Her family and friends said she was in the UAE to further her career by developing new skills.
"Unfortunately, she fell victim to her blind trust in people, and she was implicated in a case that has nothing to do with her, from near or far," they said.
"We have full confidence that her innocence will be shown soon, and that the UAE authorities and the Dubai judiciary will reveal the truth."
Her loved ones said they "are appealing to all relevant authorities, and everyone who can help reveal the truth and annul the death penalty, to intervene to save her life".
It is expected Esawi Frej, the Israeli regional cooperation minister, will travel to the Emirates to see Kiwan in prison in the coming days, based on his comments to local media.