On July 22, the Times of Israel reported that Marte Deborah Dalelv, 24, a Norwegian interior-design consultant was “pardoned” by Dubai ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. She was sentenced to 16-month jail by a Dubai court on chrages of adultery and consuming alcohol.
“I’m very, very happy,” Marte told AP, “I’m overjoyed”.
Norway’s Jewish prime minister Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter: “Happy that Marte has been pardoned and that she is a free woman again”. Stoltenberg, who is leader of the ruling Labour Party, was slammed last year by Abraham Foxman, head of American Jewish lobby group, Anti-Defamation League, for not condemning anti-Israel slogans at country’s May Day parade.
The sentence against the 24-year-old Dalelv last week stirred widespread outrage in the West and highlighted the frequent clash between Dubai’s Western-friendly image and its some Shari’ah-based legal codes.
Dalelv claimed she was raped in March by a co-worker, but she 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 city’s reputation as a cosmopolitan hub.
Her alleged rapist, a co-worker, who was also sentenced to 16-month in prison on extramarital sex and alcohol consumption charges, was also pardoned.
The UAE ruler’s decision will help to convince the Judeo-Christian world that Muslim world is changing in western-image when it comes to religious morality. Don’t forget, both alcohol and extramarital sex are symbols of western civilization.
Dalelv, is an employee of Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana’s interior design firm in Dubai. Wissam Al Mana is pop singer Janet Jackson’s third husband since last year.
Dubai was the “hot potato” at the western media in refuting Israeli Mossad’s assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 19, 2010.
Behind the facade of western financial hub in the region and world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – the tiny sheikhdom is almost bankrupted. According to IMF, the government and related entities owes $130 billion – about as much as Dubai’s GDP.