As TheBlaze reported last week, a 24-year-old Norwegian woman was raped in Dubai in March by a coworker but was then arrested, tried and sentenced to 16 months in prison for engaging in extramarital sex. Her attacker reportedly got a shorter sentence of 13 months.
Now, the woman who has since granted media interviews in an effort to warn other women of the potential perils of traveling in Dubai says she has been pardoned and is free to leave the country.
“I was told that I’ve been pardoned,” Marte Deborah Dalelv told reporters Monday outside a Dubai court.
“I am very, very happy,” Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press. “I am overjoyed.”
“I have my passport back. I am pardoned,” she said, adding she would leave Dubai “as soon as possible.”
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tweeted: “Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help.”
Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help #ReleaseMarte
— Espen Barth Eide (@EspenBarthEide) July 22, 2013
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg tweeted: “Happy that Marte has been pardoned and that she is a free woman again.”
According to the AP, Dalelv’s decision to grant interviews to the media over the past few days seemed to put pressure on authorities in Dubai worried the city’s “reputation as a cosmopolitan hub” would be tarnished.
TheBlaze reported on Thursday:
A Norwegian woman was sentenced to a year and four months in jail after reporting to authorities in Dubai that she was raped. Under the local Sharia-compliant justice system, sex outside of marriage is legally punishable, and according to media accounts in Norway, the woman’s attacker was given a shorter sentence than hers.
Norway’s News in English reports that the 25-year-old traveled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in March, a trip that ended up becoming a “nightmare.” After reporting the rape to local authorities, the woman was then jailed herself for extramarital sex and for drinking alcohol, both forbidden under Islamic law.
Eide told the Norwegian news agency NTB that diplomatic pressure from Norway as well as international media scrutiny helped secure the interior designer’s release.
“The United Arab Emirates and Dubai is a rapidly changing society. This decision won’t only affect Marte Dalelv, who can travel home now if she wishes to, but also serve as a wake-up call regarding the legal situation in many other countries,” Eide said, according to the AP.
Officials in Dubai so far have not commented, according to the AP.
Dalelv told the AP she plans to leave the United Arab Emirates soon, but “first I have to thank some very special people.” She has been staying at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church.
TheBlaze reported in May on the similar case of Australian citizen Alicia Gali, then 22, who was drugged and gang-raped by three of her colleagues at a Starwood hotel in Dubai. After seeking medical care, she was thrown in jail for eight months for sex outside of marriage.