Norwegian woman warns of justice in Dubai after alleged rape
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage because she reported an alleged rape said Friday she decided to speak out in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of outsiders misunderstanding the Islam-influenced legal codes in this cosmopolitan city.
The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced on Wednesday. It also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates' international atmosphere and its legal system, which is strongly influenced by Islamic traditions in a nation where foreign workers and visitors greatly outnumber locals.
Marte Deborah Dalelv, who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar, claims she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker in March while she was attending a business meeting in Dubai.
She said she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called. The hotel staff asked whether she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.
“Of course I want to call the police,” she said. “That is the natural reaction where I am from.”
Dalelv was detained for four days after being accused of having sex outside marriage, which is outlawed in the UAE. The law generally is not enforced for tourists as well as hundreds of thousands of Westerners and others on resident visas.
Norwegian diplomats later secured her release. She has been allowed to remain at the Norwegian Seamen's Center in central Dubai, where she is preparing her appeal scheduled for early September. She said her alleged attacker received a 13-month sentence for out-of-wedlock sex and alcohol consumption.
“This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice,” Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, told the NTB news agency, calling it “highly problematic from a human rights perspective.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Islamic State link with well-heeled companies or individuals targeted
- Turkish hostages freed from Islamic State, but questions linger
- Mementos unearthed at Nazi death camp in Poland
- NATO chief: Ukraine truce ‘in name only’
- Egyptian President al-Sisi feels vindicated in crackdown as Islamic extremists rise
- Economic powers at odds on stimulus as G20 gathers
- Islamic State frees 49 hostages
- Yemeni government and Houthi rebels reach agreement, U.N. envoy says
- London must keep promises to Scotland, former Prime Minister Brown says
- Venezuelan police chief freed from jail
- Scottish teens surprise in independence vote