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Dubai pardons allege rape victim

22 July 2013, 16:01

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 as possible".

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 added.

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 Norwegian diplomats.

She has since been staying at the Norwegian Seamen's Church in Dubai.

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 a crime”.

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.


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