Woman gets 16-month jail sentence after reporting being raped

Saturday 20 July 2013 21.20
Marte Deborah Dalelv also said she wanted to spread the word and that she had been thinking about going public with her story for a while
Marte Deborah Dalelv also said she wanted to spread the word and that she had been thinking about going public with her story for a while

A Norwegian woman has been sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported being an alleged victim of rape.

She decided to make her case public with the hope of drawing attention to the risks of getting caught up in the Islamic-influenced legal system in the wealthy Gulf city-state.

Marte Deborah Dalelv said in an interview that she did not want to remain silent before her appeal in September.

Talking about the night of the rape Ms Dalelv said she: "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 added.

Ms Dalelv said she wanted to spread the word and that she had been thinking about going public with her story for a while.

"We were worried that that would effect my case for the worse, because it could be that they could make me as an example, showing that in Dubai we have our rules you have to follow them. So we thought we are not calling the press," she added.

The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced last Wednesday.

It also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates' international atmosphere and its legal system.

Ms Dalelv claims she was detained after reporting the alleged assault in March.

Separately, three British people jailed for more than a year in Dubai on drug charges have been freed as a part of an amnesty.

The three were sentenced to four years in jail in April, and said they had been tortured following their arrest.