Dubai Rape Victim: 'I Have To Spread The Word' On UAE Legal System

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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Marte Deborah Dalelv, the Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for reporting that she was raped, said today that she is speaking out on her case to inform Western visitors to Dubai on how different the legal system in the United Arab Emirates is.

“I have to spread the word ... After my sentence we thought, 'How can it get worse?'" she said in an interview recently

Dalelv has worked an interior design firm in Qatar since 2011. In March, she was on a business trip to Dubai when she claims she was sexually assaulted by a coworker. After the assault, Dalelv went back to her hotel and told staff that she wanted to report the incident to the police. When the staff asked if she was sure she wanted to report the incident, Dalelv was confused.

"Of course I want to call the police," she said. "That is the natural reaction where I am from."

But after Emirati police investigated her claim, Dalelv was detained for having sex outside of marriage. She managed to call her step-father while in custody and tell him about the situation she was in. Her father talked to Norwegian authorities who were able to secure her release.

"This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice," said Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide , adding that the case is “highly problematic from a human rights perspective."

Dalelv will appeal her sentencing in September.

“I just want to get fair treatment,” she said. "They have their legal system.  I hope for the best, and I take it one day at a time. I just have to get through this.”

Rori Donaghy, a representative for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, said Dalelv’s case points to the need for the United Arab Emirates to reform their rape laws to protect victims.

"We urge authorities to reform the laws governing incidents of rape in the country to ensure women are protected against sexual violence and do not become the targets of prosecution when reporting crimes," Donaghy said. 

As if getting jail time for reporting a rape was not bad enough, Dalelv was also fired from her job following the incident. As reported by Inquisitr:

On March 6 this year, Dalelv received a letter from her employer, billionaire Wissam Al Mana, the husband of pop star Janet Jackson. The letter said she had been suspended from her position.

Close to a month later she received a new letter saying her contracted had been terminated due to 'unacceptable and improper behavior.' The letter was personally signed by Janet Jackson’s husband.

Here is the letter:

Further to the suspension letter notified to you on 20th March 2013, we hereby inform you that you employment with Al Mana Interiors W.L.L. is terminated for misconduct and breach of your employment duties, effective immediately.

As mentioned is the suspension letter dated 20th March 2013, your employment agreement is termination due to your unacceptable and improper behavior during your last business trip in Dubai, which has resulted in your arrest by the Police Authorities in UAE.

Update: She got a pardon this morning in response to the international outcry.

Sources: Huffington Post, USA Today, Inquisitr