Norwegian rape victim jailed for extra-marital sex pardoned by UAE

Published July 22nd, 2013 - 11:29 GMT
This family handout photo taken in Abu Dhabi in May 2013 shows Norwegian businesswoman Marte Deborah Dalelv, (AFP/Handout/Scanpix/Norway/Norway Out)
This family handout photo taken in Abu Dhabi in May 2013 shows Norwegian businesswoman Marte Deborah Dalelv, (AFP/Handout/Scanpix/Norway/Norway Out)

A Norwegian woman in a rape case in Dubai said Monday she was pardoned and allowed to fly home after having been convicted of extramarital sex following reporting her rape to the Muslim emirate's authorities.

"I was told that I've been pardoned," Marte Dalelv, 24, told reporters outside a Dubai court, adding that her passport had been returned and she would leave the Gulf state "as soon as possible."

In Oslo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide also said that Dalelv was being allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member.

A spokeswoman from the ministry told AFP that Dalelv had been pardoned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

"She hasn't been deported, she has been pardoned. She can remain in Dubai if she wishes. Her passport has been returned to her," said Ragnhild Imerslund.

Dalely was sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of extramarital sexual relations, alcohol use and perjury after reporting to UAE police that she was raped while on a business trip to Dubai.

The rapist, her co-worker, was sentenced to 13 months in jail.

Sex outside of marriage is illegal in the UAE, which has led to multiple instances of foreigners unaware of the law being prosecuted when reporting rapes.

The news came as a number of Gulf-based rights groups and activists on Monday strongly condemned Gulf monarchies over mistreatment of women activists that included sexual harassment, torture, illegal detention and other abuses.

A statement, signed by 50 Gulf rights groups and activists, said that women activists have been targeted in most of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, especially after the start of the Arab Spring uprisings.

In Bahrain, female activists have been subjected to "sexual harassment and threatened with rape besides verbal and physical abuse" after they were held for participating in peaceful protests, the statement said.

It cited the case of female activist Rehana al-Mussawi, who claimed that she was stripped naked during interrogation while in detention a few days ago.

In the other five GCC states – Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates – the statement said female activists were arrested, mistreated or unfairly sentenced to heavy jail terms for expressing views peacefully.

In UAE, several women activists were detained for months as part of an alleged Islamist cell before they were acquitted in court, while in Saudi Arabia and Oman a number of women activists were detained and prosecuted.


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