Four months after supposedly being raped, Marthe Deborah Dalelv (24) is stuck in Dubai. She is now warning other women on holiday in the Middle East.
– Dubai is presented as a paradise, like everything is nice. But it’s not like that, says the 24 year old woman from Tønsberg, Norway to the newspaper VG.
The 6th of March this year she reported a colleague for rape.
But Tuesday this week, Dalelv was sentenced to 16 months in prison after being convicted for having extramarital sex and for drinking alcohol without permission.
The nightmare started when she attended a work trip to Dubai with her colleagues in the Qatar based interior company she worked for.
Woke up being raped
The last night in Dubai she went out on the town with female colleagues from Norway. A couple of their Qatari male colleagues also joined them.
– The morning after I woke up 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 says.
Took her passport
For four days she was detained in a prison cell, charged for having extramarital sex.
– They took my money, my purse and my passport before locking me in the prison cell. It was freezing cold in there, without enough places to sleep for everyone.
Dalelv was lucky enough to borrow a phone to call her parents and tell them what happened.
– I told my father rapidly: „I have been raped. I am in prison. You have to call the embassy. I am at the Burj Dubai station”.
Her appeal hearing is scheduled for the 5th of September, and until then she is stuck in Dubai with the status „wanted”. This means she will be arrested if she gets in touch with the police again.
– Giving her support
Gisle Meling, the minister to seamen at the Norwegain seamen’s church in Dubai characterizes the Norwegian woman’s situation as terrible.
– The legal system here has obviously taken the information she has given them and concluded she is guilty of something else, Meling says.
– We live in a country with a legal system that has come to this conclusion through their Sharia legislation.
Last night VG was in touch with the police officer Bilal Gomaa at the police station in Dubai where the rape of Dalelv is being investigated.
– Until you have applied for access to the investigation, we cannot give you any information in this case, Gomaa said to VG.
The minister of foreign affairs in Norway, Espen Barth Eide said Thursday that the conviction of the 24 year old woman is against the Norwegian belief in justice:
– The conviction in Dubai against a Norwegian woman who reported a rape is against our belief in justice.
– We are giving her support in the process towards the appeal, he writes on his Twitter account.
The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs does not want to comment further on the conviction, as it was appealed and therefore not yet legally binding.