EuroNews — July 20, 2013
A Norwegian woman in Dubai who reported being raped only to receive a 16-month jail sentence for having sex outside marriage is appealing against the verdict.
Marte Deborah Dalelv, who was also convicted of perjury and drinking alcohol, has taken refuge in a Norwegian church.
The 24-year-old interior designer was on a business trip when she says the attack happened after a night out with colleagues.
“I woke up and I realised I was being raped and I went down to the lobby and I asked them to call the police for me. They asked me are you sure you want to call the police? And I thought of course I want to call the police because that’s the natural reaction where I am from,” she said.
It is not the first time Dubai’s strict laws on extramarital sex have surprised westerners.
In Norway there has been outrage. The opposition has called on the government to do more to help the young woman.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry says it has tried to contact the United Arab Emirates authorities.
“We hope of course, that a political dialogue can turn out to be productive in her case. But right now, we are in the midst of an appeal, and there is a lawsuit in progress, so we’ll see what the future brings,” said Kathryn Raadim, political consultant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The appeal is due to be held in September.
Marte Dalelv says she spoke out to draw attention to the risks of falling foul of the Gulf state’s legal system.
Three years ago a young British man and woman were jailed in Dubai after being accused of kissing in public.