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Dubai rape case woman cleared of extramarital sex charge

A Norwegian woman, sentenced to 16 months in prison in Dubai after reporting she had been raped, has been pardoned. Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, had been convicted on three charges including extramarital sex.

Marte Deborah Dalelv from Norway, 24, talks to the Associated Press reporter in Dubai on Friday, July 19, 2013, after she was sentenced 16 months in jail for having sex outside of marriage after she reported an alleged rape. Dalelv says she decided to make her case public in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of getting caught up in the Islamic-influenced legal system in the wealthy Gulf city-state. The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced Wednesday. But it also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates' international atmosphere and its legal system.(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Marte Deborah Dalelv

Marte Deborah Dalelv was pardoned by authorities on Monday, Norway's foreign minister reported, ending a four-month ordeal.

"I warmly welcome that Marte Dalelv was pardoned by the ruler of Dubai today. The fight for human rights for all continues," Espen Barth Eide wrote on his Twitter account.

Dalelv herself told reporters in Dubai she was "very, very happy" to have been pardoned, adding that her passport had been returned and she would leave the Gulf state "as soon as possible."

"I am free, finally," she said.

Dalelv was convicted earlier this month after reporting she had been raped by a colleague while in Dubai. The court in the Gulf Arab emirate found her guilty of having sex outside marriage, drinking alcohol and providing false testimony earlier this month.

She had been staying at a Norwegian Christian center in Dubai pending an appeal hearing.

The precise reason for her pardon remains unclear, although authorities in Dubai had come under increasing pressure from the Norwegian government and human rights groups to approve her release.

Dalelv said last week she had decided to speak publicly about the case in order to draw attention to the risks involved in rape cases in the Gulf state. In the United Arab Emirates, Islamic law requires either a confession or four adult male witnesses to testify in order to secure a conviction.

Her alleged attacker, who was sentenced to 13 months in prison for alcohol consumption and sex outside marriage, was also reportedly pardoned Monday.

ccp/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)