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A Norwegian woman at the center of a Dubai rape claim dispute said Sunday that officials have dropped her 16-month sentence for having sex outside marriage and she is free to leave the country.
I am very,very happy, Marte Deborah Dalelv said. I am overjoyed.
The sentence against Dalelv,24,last week stirred widespread outrage in the West and highlighted the frequent clash between Dubais Western-friendly image and its Islamic-based legal codes.
Dalelv claimed she was raped in March by a co-worker,but was charged with having sex outside marriage after going to the police. Her decision to go public about the sentence last week in a series of interviews appeared to put pressure on authorities in Dubai and tarnish the citys reputation as a cosmopolitan hub,including possible fallout on its high-profile bid for the 2020 World Expo.
I have my passport back. I am pardoned, said Dalelv,who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar and was in Dubai for a business meeting when the alleged rape took place. There was no immediate word from Dubai officials,including whether the pardon was linked to traditions of clemency during the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
It also was unclear whether authorities would keep the 13-month sentence against Dalelvs alleged attacker,a Sudanese man who was charged with consuming alcohol and sex outside marriage. While liquor is widely available in Dubai hotels and restaurants,public intoxication can bring serious charges.
I have my life back, said Dalelv. This is a great day.