Dubai - A Norwegian woman in a rape case in Dubai, dating
back to March, said she was pardoned on Monday of an extramarital sex charge and
allowed to fly home.
"I was told that I've been pardoned," Marte
Dalelv, 24, told reporters outside a court in the Muslim emirate, adding that
her passport had been returned and she would leave the Gulf state "as soon
In Oslo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said
that Dalelv was being allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai
is a member.
"Marte [Dalelv] is released! Thanks to everyone who
signed up to help," the minister wrote on Twitter, adding that she would
be returning home soon.
A spokesperson 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.
"She will travel home shortly," the spokesperson
Dalelv had risked 16 months in jail after she reported
being raped by a co-worker in the UAE.
But Dalelv had said she remained hopeful that she would
succeed in an appeal against the ruling by a Dubai court, which convicted her
last week of extramarital sex, perjury and consuming alcohol without a permit.
Dalelv reported the rape to police back in March and was
immediately detained, being released four days later with the assistance of
She has since been staying at the Norwegian Seamen's Church
Norwegian authorities had agreed to pay for legal fees
after she spent €7 000 on legal assistance, she said.
Eide said it was "very strange that a person who
reports rape is sentenced for acts, which in our part of the world is not even
But according to Kathrine Raadim, the foreign minister's
political advisor, it was out of the question for Norway to react by recalling
its ambassador to the Gulf emirate.