Israeli woman sentenced to death - Radha Stirling issues statement
In a statement today, Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling who has dealt with numerous drugs related cases, commented on the recent death sentence handed down to Israeli national Fida Kewan in Abu Dhabi over charges that the woman possessed half a kilo of cocaine in her apartment:
“The media should be aware that official outlets in the UAE report criminal cases based exclusively on information provided by the Public Prosecutor’s office, and that the facts of the case may prove to be radically different from those initially released. We have seen numerous cases, such as those of Andy Neal and Billy Hood, in which grossly exaggerated or entirely fabricated accusations were made against innocent people.
“Typically, accused individuals have very limited access to present their side of the story or to defend themselves against charges in the UAE court system. After 15 years of experience, we have learned to regard criminal charges in the Emirates with extreme scepticism, and very often discover that the facts of the case have been drastically misrepresented. In police custody, Ms. Kewan will almost certainly have been subjected to intimidation, coercion, and denial of due process; as this has become common and documented practice in the UAE.
“The UAE has an extraordinarily strict position with regards to drugs cases, and death sentences are de rigueur, particularly in cases of suspected drug trafficking. However, there has not been an execution in the UAE for a drug conviction in decades, and capital punishment is almost always reduced to a life sentence on appeal; which is what I would expect in this case. Ms. Kewan would likely be eligible for release within 10 years, unless the Israeli government can argue mitigating circumstances or innocence, and successfully intervene on her behalf.
Foreign nationals are more likely to be imprisoned in the UAE than in any other country, and as greater numbers of Israeli citizens flock to the Emirates, following the Abraham Accords, we will inevitably see a rise in the number of cases involving Israelis – innocent or otherwise. It should be noted that such cases may potentially be used by Abu Dhabi for political leverage with Israel, given the keenness of the Israeli government towards protecting and defending their citizens.”