A 25-year-old Norwegian woman, who came to Dubai on business, complained to police that she was raped by a man. But instead of checking her complaint, local police arrested her on suspicion of having sex outside of marriage, after confiscating her passport.
According to world media reports, she has been held in detention for 16 months.
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After a lengthy period, she was allowed to use the telephone and through friends, managed to contact the Norwegian Consulate in the country, under whose auspices she was released.
She was staying at the local Norwegian Sailor's Church, until the verdict was handed down this week. "I received the harshest sentence for sex outside marriage, harshest sentence for drinking alcohol and on top of that I was found guilty of perjury,” the woman said.
The Norwegian Consulate admitted that the situation was quite complicated and said that Dubai's legal system is based on Sharia - religious law.
The woman's future remains unclear as Norway has no extradition agreement with Dubai. It should be noted that in the past, the country jailed Australian Alicia Gali, 25, who also complained of rape and imprisoned under the same guidelines.
She stands to be deported after completing her sentence, as with every foreigner imprisoned in the UAE.
Islamic laws do not allow extra-marital sex. Even unmarried couples caught holding hands may be sent to prison.
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