Dubai, 22 July: A 24-year-old Norwegian woman, who was sentenced to 16 months in prison in Dubai after reporting she was raped, today said she was pardoned and allowed to fly home by the emirate’s ruler, ending her four-month ordeal.
“I was told that I’ve been pardoned,” Marte Deborah Dalelv said adding that 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,” a smiling Dalelv told reporters. Qatar-based interior designer Dalelv, dressed in a white shirt and a mid-length skirt, spoke about the end of four-month ordeal outside a Scandinavian social centre. Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide in Oslo said: “Marte (Dalelv) is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help,”.
The minister wrote on Twitter that she would be returning home soon. Eide has said it was “very strange that a person who reports rape is sentenced for acts which in our part of the world is not even a crime.”
Dalelv was on a business trip to Dubai in March when she alleged she was raped by a colleague at the hotel where she was staying. She reported to police, but found herself detained and charged with having unlawful sex, and making a false statement. pti