Why UAE sentence Palestinian curator, photographer to death on drug possession charge?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sentenced a Palestinian curator and photographer to death on drug possession charges.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sentenced a Palestinian curator and photographer to death on drug possession charges.

A 42-year-old woman, Fidaa Kiwan, a resident of the city of Haifa in northern Israel, says that she was framed and maintains her innocence in court.


Kiwan has been held in prison in Dubai since March last year after Emirati police found half kg of cocaine with her. The artist who travelled to Dubai for work rejected the claim of trafficking drugs and said that the cocaine was planted in her apartment by someone to frame her.

The suspect’s family wrote in a statement on April 6 said, “We, the family and friends of Fidaa Kiwan, were shocked twice this week.”

“Once when we knew of the death sentence issued against Fida, and secondly when we saw and read the wrong information that was unfairly spread, without investigating the accurateness or truth, or even hearing to the family’s story.”

The family also added that their daughter is very kind, innocent and trusts people blindly, due to which their daughter fell victim in a case in which she has no connection. A family member also claims that their daughter’s confession has been obtained through torture.

Kiwan’s family has called on top Israeli officials as the artist is a Palestinian citizen of Israel and Amnesty International to intervene in this case and protect their daughter.

Kiwan owns a photography studio in Haifa and is a well-known person in the local art community. She has organized several cultural events and art exhibitions in the city, which is considered a hub of Palestinian art. Kiwan is also known as an outspoken political activist.


Local artists and arts organizations have also shown their support for Kiwan while posting on social media and using the hashtag #FreeFidaaKiwan.

In a Facebook post, Ahmad Nasser Eldin, one of Kiwan’s friends, wrote, “I know Fidaa, and she is a wonderful Palestinian photographer and an artist. She is a gorgeous and resilient human and a support system to anyone who ever met her.”

“One thing for sure, she cannot be a drug dealer,” Nasser Eldin continued. “Needless to say, no one deserves the death penalty even if they find cocaine on them … what a mad world … the absurdity of all of this.”

The UAE law states that the penalty for drug abuse in the UAE could also include life imprisonment and a death sentence depending on the seriousness of the crime.

The UAE courts give a death sentence when death or permanent damage has been caused to a victim due to drug trafficking or other willful acts in contravention to the drug laws,” if it is so, why the police officials have not provided any details regarding the relation of any victim in this case and if there is no victim involved why the death sentence has been issued against the Palestinian woman?

This has raised a question against one of the strongest laws globally, and the officials must provide an exact reason behind the imposition of this death penalty.

On the other hand, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it “is aware of the happening and is taking care of it via the division of Israelis abroad in the consular unit and Israeli representations in the UAE.”

Tariq Saeed


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