Monday, July 22, 2013

World News: Dubai pardons woman convicted for reporting rape

Dubai has pardoned a Norwegian woman who was sentenced to jail for illicit sex after she reported being raped by a colleague while on a visit to the emirate, the public prosecutor's office said to Reuters on Monday.

Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, has been waiting for an appeal hearing regarding her 16-month jail sentence handed down last week after a court emirate found her guilty of having sex outside marriage, drinking alcohol and making false statements, Reuters reported.

The prosecutor's office in a statement said pardons had been granted to both Dalelv and the Sudanese man she accused of rape, Hourai Massoud, who had been convicted of drinking alcohol and consensual rape. "I am very, very happy," Dalelv told the Norwegian state broadcasting network NRK. "I don't know when I will get to go home, but I'll leave as soon as possible...I am free, finally."

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tweeted: "I warmly welcome that Marte Delelv was pardoned by the ruler of Dubai today. The fight for human rights for all continues." Eide had told reporters Norway considered the verdict "completely unacceptable" and contrary to human rights and basic justice, Reuters reported.

Dalelv said she and Massoud had had a few drinks together, but that when she asked him to help her find her way to her hotel room, he pulled her into his hotel room and raped her. The woman chosen to speak about her case publicly to warn others of the risks involved in rape cases in the Gulf state.

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