Thursday, April 10, 2014

UAE/Qatar: Expat from Norway, 24, Reported Being Raped, Now Facing 16 Months in Prison for Having Extramarital Sex

According to, a 24-year-old Qatar-based Norwegian expat who reported being raped while on a business trip to Dubai has been sentenced by a court there to 16 months in jail for having extramarital sex, among other charges
Norwegian Marte Deborah Dalelv is free on appeal, but has been under a travel ban and unable to leave the UAE since March 2014, when she reported the rape to Dubai police, her friends have told The Doha News.

Following her sentencing this week, Dalelv has gone public with her story and friends have established a Facebook Page to put pressure on the UAE  government to release her. 

Ms. Dalelv has also told friends she wants her story to be a cautionary tale for other young women considering moving to the Middle East.

Dalelv, a decorator who has since lost her job with furniture and design company The One, had been drinking with friends in Dubai one night during her trip. According to a friend, she asked a colleague to walk her to her hotel room, which is where she was raped. 

COMMENT: Norwegian newspaper VG, who spoke to Ms. Dalelv, reports: 

"The morning after I woke up [after] being raped, my clothes were taken off and I was lying on my stomach," Dalelv explains. 

When she went to the police to report the assault, they didn’t believe her. Two hours after being raped the police asked me: “Did you come to us because you didn’t like it?” 

"I then realized that they did not believe me," she said. The newspaper added that the decorator was initially detained in a prison cell for four days after reporting her rape. 

Dalelv’s ordeal has drawn condemnation from Norwegian officials with Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide saying:

“This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice. It appears very strange that a person who reports rape is convicted for crimes that in our part of the world are not considered crimes.” 

Dalelv, who has lived in Qatar for two years, also faces charges of perjury and drinking alcohol “without permission” in the Gulf state.

Her work colleague, who she said raped her, was sentenced to 13 months in jail for having sex outside of marriage, and has also lost his job in Doha, one friend told THE DOHA NEWS.

Dalelv, who has been staying at the Norwegian Sea Man’s Church in Dubai, will return to court in September 2014 for her appeal.

I increasingly am struck by the double standard enjoyed by Gulf states that find it so easy to tempt Westerners with vices to seek employment opportunities there and then imprison them for reporting forcible rape!

All foreigners should speak with colleagues and friends BEFORE accepting work in the Gulf states, particularly women, who are treated as if they are not entitled to respect.

Until such time as Gulf states stop luring Westerners to the Gulf under false pretenses, only to use sharia law to their detriment, finding expats willing to work there may prove to be mission impossible.