SALT LAKE CITY — Dubai officials have pardoned a 24-year-old Norwegian woman who was jailed after she told police she'd been raped.
Marte Dalelv was working in Dubai when she was sentenced to 16 months in jail for having sex outside marriage and drinking alcohol, both illegal in the United Arab Emirates.
Officials in Dubai originally sentenced Dalelv after she told police she was raped by a colleague in March. The Norwegian embassy posted her bail, and after staying at a Norwegian community center for a while, Dalelv decided to take her story public.
"We had been thinking about calling the press for quite some time," Dalelv said, but we were worried that that would affect my case for the worse."
But going public had the opposite effect on Dalelv's case. Outrage against the United Arab Emirates and support for Dalelv came pouring in from across the world, especially in her home country of Norway.
"They were shocked," Evelyn Dalelv, Marte's mother said, "because in Dubai she was told not to call the police, but we always call the police in cases like this."
As details from Dalelv's story surfaced — about how police didn't believe her when she reported being raped and how she was fired from her company — people around the world began to put pressure on officials to pardon and release Dalelv.
"It's the pressure from the media and foreign affairs that led to this," Dalelv said.
Dalelv's mother, who lives in Norway, was excited and happy when she heard that her daughter had been pardoned. Evelyn was relieved that the long, painful process had come to a happy end, and she is very proud of how her daughter has handed her situation.
"I want to hug her — give her a big hug," Evelyn said.
Marte is planning on returning to school in Oslo this fall.