Dubai rape victim eager to return home

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Dubai. File photo: Ann Törnkvist
10:58 CEST+02:00
The Norwegian rape victim felled for extra-marital sex in Dubai has said she can't wait "to go home to mum", following her pardon by Emirati authorities on Monday.

Marte Deborah Dalelv received her exit visa on Tuesday, after being pardoned the day before when the 24-year-old said she would travel home to Norway as soon as her papers were ready.

"I'll leave as soon as I can, I want to go home to mum," she said. 

"The exit visa is a formality. We are her advisers and will help Marte until she has left the country," Norway's ambassador to the UAE  Åse Bjerke told NTB. 

Dalelv was working for an interior decoration firm in Dubai when the alleged rape occurred. She reported the incident on March 6th to Emirati authorities in Dubai, but they instead confiscated her passport and money and later went on to prosecute her in connection to the assault.

Last week, she was sentenced to 16 months in jail for having sex outside of marriage, for drinking alcohol, and for perjury.  

The verdict made headlines across the world, with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on Monday reporting that the emir in Dubai may have decided to pardon her in order to save the Emirate's standing as a holiday destination. 

"Dubai and the other emirates are an oil state, which is strongly integrated in the world economy. That's why the leaders are concerned with the country's reputation," Bergen University professor Knut S. Vikør told the paper.

"The courts are less concerned about (Dubai's reputation). As Dalelv has been first convicted, then pardoned, means that both parts have had their say," he added. 

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