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Marte Deborah Dalelv imprisoned in Dubai for reporting rape

5:57 AM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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Michael Winter, USA TODAY

A Dubai court has sentenced a Norwegian woman to 16 months in jail for having sex outside of marriage after she reported being raped, according to news reports from the United Arab Emirates.

Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, was convicted Wednesday. She was also found guilty of perjury and of drinking alcohol, the English-language Local reported. The Norway Post said she was 25.

Dalelv told police March 6 that she was raped while in the emirate on business. Her father said she was instead jailed for four days and had her passport and money confiscated. She was then charged.

Norwegian diplomats secured her release to the local Norwegian Seamen's Church.

The Norwegian Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that the verdict "flies in the face of our notion of justice" and was "highly problematic" in terms of Western human rights.

For a rape conviction, United Arab Emirates law requires either a confession or four adult male witnesses to the attack.

The case was not reported in the two major English-language newspapers in the United Arab Emirates, The National and The Khaleej Times.

Similar cases involving foreigners and Emirati women have been reported in the past few years.

In December, a 28-year-old British woman who reported being kidnapped and gang-raped by three men in Dubai was found guilty of drinking alcohol without a license. She was fined $257.

Three years ago, an Abu Dhabi court sentenced an 18-year-old Emirati woman to a year in prison for illicit sex after she reported that six men had gang-raped her.

In 2008, an Australian woman managing a United Arab Emirates resort reported being brutally gang-raped while unconscious because she had been drugged. She was convicted of illegal sex outside marriage and sentenced to 11 months in prison, in addition to one month for drinking alcohol.

She was pardoned after eight months, as were three men convicted of raping her.

"When it comes to seeking justice for sexual violence, women in the UAE still face formidable and often insurmountable barriers," a Human Rights Watch researcher told The Independent.

Human Rights Watch has accused the United Arab Emirates of condoning sexual violence and called changes to its procedures for rape victims.

USA Today

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