Internet Helps Free Norwegian Woman Jailed for Being Raped in Dubai

Marte Deborah Dalelv, a 24-year-old Norwegian woman living and working in Qatar, was on a business trip to Dubai when her male colleague pushed her into his hotel room and raped her. She reported the incident to authorities, she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for having sex outside of marriage — a sentence that was overturned, thanks in part to pressure from social media.

After relaying her version of events to the police, Dalelv told CNN, "They asked me, 'Are you sure you called the police because you just didn't like it?' I said, 'Well of course I didn't like it.' That is when I knew, I don't think they are going to believe me at all."

She says she was taken for an intimate (invasive?) medical exam, tested for alcohol consumption, her belongings were taken, and she was kept in a jail for four days. Yes, kept in jail for four days after reporting a rape. She was finally able to call her parents on the third day, and someone was sent from the Norwegian Embassy to have her released.

However, the police didn't give Dalev her Passport, and instead presented her with two charges: one for sex outside of marriage and the other for public consumption of alcohol, both illegal in the UAE.

Her manager at work told her to lie to the police and say that the rape was actually voluntary sexual intercourse and if she did so, the "issue" would go away. She decided to do that and was then charged with making a false statement.

She was then fired — an unidentified rep from Al Mana Interiors said Dalelv and the Sudanese man she accused of rape were terminated because they were "drinking alcohol at a staff conference that resulted in trouble with the police."

Dalev was convicted and sentenced on charges of having unlawful sex, making a false statement, and illegal consumption of alcohol. She was scheduled to appeal her case on September 5th, but was officially pardoned by the UAE after she spoke out to Norwegian media and social media glommed onto the story. A Facebook page was set up calling for Dalelv's release, as well as a petition urging the Norwegian government to take action on her behalf. And, of course the Twitterverse went nuts. Turns out, terrible press about how a country treats its visitors is not good practice for a country that relies heavily on tourism. No comment so far from the UAE government, according to CBS.

[CNN]