Dubai sentences Norwegian woman who reported rape

Marte Deborah Dalelv in Dubai on 19 July 2013 Marte Deborah Dalelv says she is “very nervous and tense” but remains hopeful she can overturn the sentence on appeal.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped.

The 24-year-old reported the March attack to the police but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

Convicted earlier this week, she says she is appealing against the verdict.

The appeal hearing is scheduled for early September.

Describing the sentence as “very harsh”, she told the AFP news agency: “I am very nervous and tense. But I hope for the best and I take one day at a time. I just have to get through this.”

The case has angered rights groups and the authorities in Norway.

‘Wanted’

Ms Dalelv says she had been on a night out with colleagues on 6 March when the rape took place.

She reported it to the police, who proceeded to confiscate her passport and seize her money. She was charged four days later on three counts, including having sex outside marriage.

File photo of Dubai Dubai’s cosmopolitan atmosphere belie deeply conservative roots

Her alleged attacker, she said, received a 13-month sentence for extra-marital sex and alcohol consumption.

The Norwegian government had secured Ms Dalelv’s conditional release so, since being charged, she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Seamans’ Centre in Dubai.

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Dubai Pardons Woman Sentenced to Prison After Telling Police She Was Raped

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Marte Dalelv from Norway flashes a smile at the Norwegian Seamen’s Center in Dubai, on July 22, 2013 after she was pardoned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of an extramarital sex charge and allowed to fly home

Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

The Associated Press with the good—and overdue—news:

A Norwegian woman at the center of a Dubai rape claim dispute said Sunday that officials have dropped her 16-month sentence for having sex outside marriage and she is free to leave the country. “I am very, very happy,” Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press. “I am overjoyed.” …

[Norwegian Foreign Minister] Barth Eide told the Norwegian news agency NTB that international media attention and Norway’s diplomatic measures helped Dalelv, who was free on appeal with her next court hearing scheduled for early September. Norway also reminded the United Arab Emirates of obligations under U.N. accords to seriously investigate claims of violence against women.

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