DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Norwegian interior designer who said she was raped by a Sudanese colleague during a business trip to the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai earlier this year has been “pardoned” from her conviction and 16-month sentence for extramarital sex, drinking alcohol and providing false information to authorities.
The decision Monday in the name of the Emirati ruler in Dubai cleared the way for the 24-year-old to return to her Nordic homeland. But it in no way reflected a change in the Islamic federation’s laws or practices that typically treat women against whom sexual violence is committed as criminals rather than victims. The 33-year-old Sudanese man, who was also convicted of extramarital sex and drinking, was also pardoned.
The woman reported to local authorities in March that she had been raped by a colleague after an evening out with several fellow business travelers. But because prosecution of sexual violence against women in the UAE requires either the perpetrator’s confession or eyewitness accounts of at least four men, authorities tend instead to charge the victim with engaging in proscribed extramarital sex.