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Israeli FM: UAE pardons Israeli citizen after drug sentence

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Israeli officers say the United Arab Emirates has pardoned an Israeli girl after initially sentencing her to loss of life for drug possession

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli officers stated Sunday the United Arab Emirates has pardoned an Israeli girl after initially sentencing her to loss of life for drug possession, a case that examined the nascent ties between the 2 international locations.

Fida Kiwan was arrested in early 2021 with half a kilogram (over 1 pound) of cocaine that she claimed didn’t belong to her, Israeli media reported. The UAE, which has harsh drug legal guidelines, later commuted the loss of life sentence to life in jail.

Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel’s Overseas Ministry, stated Kiwan had returned to Israel in a single day Saturday after the pardon.

The workplace of Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, stated the pardon got here following a request by Herzog to UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who agreed “as a gesture of fine will,” to launch her.

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There was no instant remark from officers within the UAE.

Kiwan’s arrest got here shortly after Israel and the UAE normalized ties below U.S.-brokered agreements often known as the Abraham Accords.

Ties between the international locations have flourished since, with commerce rising and Israeli vacationers flocking in droves to glitzy Dubai.

In accordance with Israeli media, Kiwan, who is claimed to personal a images studio within the northern Israeli metropolis of Haifa, got here to Dubai for work on the invitation of a Palestinian acquaintance. She was arrested a short time later after a search of her residence turned up the medication.

The United Arab Emirates maintains the loss of life penalty for a number of offenses, together with drug smuggling. Nonetheless, executions stay uncommon within the federation of seven sheikhdoms, with the final loss of life sentence carried out by firing squad in 2017 in opposition to a person convicted of abducting, raping and killing an 8-year-old boy.

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