, DUBAI, July 22 – A Norwegian woman in a rape case in Dubai said she was pardoned Monday of an extramarital sex charge in the Muslim emirate and allowed to fly home, ending a four month ordeal.
“I was told that I’ve been pardoned,” a smiling Marte Dalelv, 24, told reporters outside a Scandinavian social centre, adding her passport had been returned and she would leave the Gulf state “as soon as possible”.
“I’m very, very happy. This is the perfect ending (and) it feels really, really good,” said Dalelv, dressed in a white shirt and a mid length skirt.
In Oslo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide also said Dalelv was being allowed to leave the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member.
“Marte (Dalelv) is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help,” the minister wrote on Twitter, adding that she would be returning home soon.
A spokeswoman for his ministry told AFP that Dalelv had been pardoned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and was not being deported.
“She hasn’t been deported, she has been pardoned. She can remain in Dubai if she wishes. Her passport has been returned to her,” said Ragnhild Imerslund.
Dalelv had risked 16 months in jail after she reported having been raped by her boss in the UAE.
Her boss, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for alcohol consumption and sex outside marriage, was also pardoned, her lawyer Mahmoud Azab told AFP.
On Monday, Oslo’s envoy in Abu Dhabi, Ase Elin Bjerke, who was accompanying Dalelv, told AFP that “we are very grateful for the outcome of this case. It has been very challenging.”
She said they have not yet been informed of the reason for the pardon, but “the very fruitful dialogue that we have had at a senior level has given result.”
“She has not only been pardoned but she can stay until she decides herself to leave and she is allowed to return to the UAE anytime,” said Bjerke.