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Norway 'rape victim' to appeal 16 month sentence in Dubai for extramarital sex

The Norwegian woman sentenced to jail in Dubai for extramarital sex after reporting being raped is appealing against the verdict.

Dubai sailorsEnlarge
Emarati dhow sailors race off the coast of Dubai on May 25, 2013. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

The Norwegian woman sentenced to jail in Dubai for extramarital sex after reporting being raped has said she will appeal against the verdict.

Marte Deborah Dalelv, 42, who was also convicted of perjury and drinking alcohol and had her passport confiscated, has taken refuge in the Norwegian Seamens' Center in Dubai.

Under United Arab Emirates law, sex outside of marriage is illegal, while a rape conviction requires either a confession or four adult male witnesses to the attack.

An interior designer working for a Watar-based firm, Dalelv was on a business trip when she says the attack happened after a night out with colleagues.

“I woke up and I realized 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."

There have been similar convictions involving foreigners and Emirati women over the past several years, but the law on extramarital sex is not generally enforced for tourists or Westerners living in UAE on resident visas.

The Norwegian government helped secure her conditional release after she was charged in March, the BBC reported.

Dalelv told the Associated Press that she wanted to "spread the word" about significant differences in the emirates' legal code compared with Western legal systems.

"After my sentence we thought, 'How can it get worse?'"

However, she has been careful not to criticize UAE authorities, saying:

"They have their legal system. I just want to get fair treatment."

According to the AP, Dalelv is preparing her appeal scheduled for early September.

The case has also brought strong criticism from Norwegian officials and activists.

Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, reportedly told the NTB news agency:

"This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice."

Eide also called the 16-month sentence "highly problematic from a human rights perspective."

A spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights in London, Rori Donaghy, said the case pointed out the need for the UAE to expand its legal protections for alleged rape victims.

"We urge authorities to reform the laws governing incidents of rape in the country, to ensure women are protected against sexual violence and do not become the targets of prosecution when reporting crimes."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/130720/norway-rape-victim-dubai-extramarital-sex-Marte-Deborah-Dalelv