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article image'I get to go home': Dubai pardons jailed Norwegian rape victim

By Yukio Strachan     Jul 23, 2013 in World
Marte Deborah Dalelv, the Norwegian woman whose name made news around the world when she was sentenced to prison in Dubai after reporting rape — has been "pardoned."
On Monday, in a statement to Reuters, Dubai's public prosecutor's office confirmed that a pardon had been granted to Dalelv.
Police detained the 24-year-old woman after she accused a Sudanese man, Hourai Massoud, of raping her in a Dubai hotel during a business trip to the emirate in March.
Her plight sparked international outrage when she later faced trial and was convicted and sentenced to a 16-month jail term for providing false testimony, drinking alcohol, and "consensual rape."
Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Dalelv still can't believe the news. "They told me that I would be pardoned and that they were going to give me my passport back," she said.
Asked what happens next, Dalelv paused a beat, then said: "I get to go home."
Indeed, a spokeswoman for Norway's Foreign Ministry, Ragnhild Imerslund, told CNN that Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had said Dalelv was free to travel where she wants and can remain in Dubai if she chooses.
Women should never be afraid to report rape
Least anyone believe that Dubai, one of six principalities in the United Arab Emirates, had an Epiphany on women's rights, as the New York Times reports, Dubai "is keen on preserving an image as a good place for foreign companies to do business and investment."
That means the United Arab Emirates still has much work to do. While many celebrate with Dalelv for her newly-won freedom, it came with a price: her accused rapist, the 33-year-old man who was her boss, and who was jailed for 13 months, has also been pardoned, The New York Times writes.
"While we are pleased that Marte can now return home to Norway, her pardon still suggests that she was somehow guilty of a crime," Rori Donaghy, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, said in a statement. "Until laws are reformed, victims of sexual violence in the UAE will continue to suffer in this way and we will likely see more cases such as this one."
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg put it this way: "Women should never be afraid to report rape," she said.
More about Marte Deborah Dalelv, Norwegian rape victim, Dubai, Pardon, Human Rights
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