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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Dubai pardons Doha-based expat who was jailed after reporting rape

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Marte Deborah Dalelv, a Doha-based expat who was sentenced to jail time in Dubai after reporting that she was raped, has been pardoned by the government, her friends and family have said. Here’s the latest.

UPDATE | 1:48pm

Dalelv’s lawyer said her alleged attacker, a 33-year-old Sudanese man, has also been pardoned, Gulf News reports:

The lawyer said they are approaching immigration officials to get the violations against Marte cancelled and arrange for her departure from the country, considering that she has received her passport back.


Dalelv, a 24-year-old Norwegian, was due for a meeting with a Dubai prosecutor this morning. Shortly after noon on Monday, Norway’s foreign minister tweeted:

Speaking to Norwegian media, Eide said the pardon was granted by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The official, who visited Doha yesterday, is also the vice president and prime minister of the UAE. Eide also cited international attention on the case as a major reason for Dalelv’s release.

Dalelv, who has been under a travel ban in the UAE since reporting a sexual assault by a colleague in March, was convicted last week of having sex outside of marriage, drinking alcohol without a license and perjury. She was facing 16 months in jail and was awaiting a September appeals hearing.

According to Norwegian newspaper NRK, Dalelv did not speak to media after her meeting, and headed straight to the airport, where she will likely fly to Norway.

UPDATE | 1:10pm

NRK now reports Dalelv as saying: “I do not know when I’ll go home, but as soon as possible.”


Though Doha was her home for the past two years, the expat lost her job at The One shortly after running into trouble with Dubai police.

Dalelv’s pardon comes only a few days after she took her story to the media. The tale of her alleged rape and subsequent sentencing has gone viral, with most major Western news outlets and beyond covering the story.

Over the weekend, a petition calling for her release has accumulated more than 71,000 signatures.

It is not immediately clear what has happened to Dalelv’s colleague, who was sentenced to 13 months in jail for extramarital sex and drinking alcohol.

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Eugene Kaspersky

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