UAE pardons Norwegian woman jailed in Dubai after reporting rape

DUBAI Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:24am EDT

1 of 2. Norwegian interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, who reported being raped, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Norwegian Seamen's Center in Dubai, July 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jumana El Heloueh

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DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates has pardoned a Norwegian woman who was sentenced to jail for illicit sex after she reported being raped by a colleague while on a visit to Dubai, the Norwegian foreign minister said on Monday.

Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, had been awaiting an appeal hearing of her 16-month sentence handed down this month after a court in the Gulf Arab emirate found her guilty of having sex outside marriage, drinking and making false statements.

"I warmly welcome that Marte Dalelv was pardoned by the ruler of Dubai today. The fight for human rights for all continues," Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, said on his Twitter account.

Eide had told reporters Oslo believed the verdict was "completely unacceptable" and said it was contrary to human rights and the basic sense of justice.

Dalelv herself spoke of her relief and delight at the decision. "I am very very happy ... I don't know when I will get to go home, but I'll leave as soon as possible," she told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. "I am free, finally."

News of the sentence had dominated the front pages in Norway and raised questions about the judicial system in the Gulf state, which attracts large numbers of expatriates and tourists with a Western lifestyle but has little-publicized conservative laws covering sex and alcohol.

Authorities from Dubai's public prosecutor's office had no immediate comment.

Dalelv, who has been staying at a Norwegian Christian center in Dubai pending the appeal, said a male colleague pulled her into his hotel room and raped her after she asked him to help her find her own room when they had a few drinks.

Dalelv said she had chosen to speak about her case in public to warn others of the risks involved in rape cases in the Gulf state.

In the United Arab Emirates, as in some other countries using Islamic law, a rape conviction can require either a confession or the testimony of four adult male witnesses.

(Reporting by Amena Bakr and Sami Aboudi in Dubai; Balazs Koranyi in Oslo Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (52)
ShovelyJoe wrote:
WOW!! There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. No human being would send someone to jail for being a victim of rape. The only plausible conclusion is that the authorities in this country are in fact not civilized people but are monsters. I can’t see how they are anything other than a waste of human skin.

Jul 22, 2013 8:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
R.N.utrition wrote:
ShovelyJoe… I understand the outrage, however, the sentiment is wrong. We are all depraved and have all fallen short and there are numerous human beings that would do this… just as there are numerous human beings who would lie, steal, murder, commit adultery, gossip, etc… we are all a waste of human skin… but thankfully we have Christ who took our place of punishment.

Jul 22, 2013 9:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
FuzzyTheBear wrote:
I don’t hear anyone arguing Shovely
The whole region is to be avoided by tourists.
Their sense of morale and justice is equivalent to those of the Neanderthals , and even then , I wish to apologise to the Neanderthals for brigning them down to such lows :\

Jul 22, 2013 9:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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