A Norwegian woman who reported being raped and was subsequently arrested in Dubai while there on a business trip this spring has been freed. Marte Deborah Dalelv’s saga began when she took her accusations to the police. Authorities then arrested her, revoked her passport and took her money. She received a 16-month prison sentence after being charged with “perjury, having extramarital sex and drinking alcohol.”

The case garnered much attention from civil rights activists and the Norwegian government this past week, while also promising to besmirch Dubai’s cosmopolitan Western-friendly image. The combination eventually lead United Arab Emirates officials to respond by returning Dalelv’s passport and pardoning her supposed crimes.


The designer, who has been staying at the Norwegian Seamen’s Centre in Dubai since she was sentenced last week, told the BBC she found out she was to be freed earlier on Monday during a meeting with public prosecutors.

“We came in and we sat down and they told us ‘You’ve been pardoned’. It’s from the ruler of Dubai. It’s from him personally so that’s – it just feels unbelievable – it’s a very, very good day.”

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The alleged rapist, a colleague of Dalelv’s who had been sentenced to 13 months in prison on extramarital sex and alcohol consumption charges, was also pardoned.

A good day for accused rapists too, it seems.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi.

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