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Dubai: Norwegien Rape Victim Sentenced to Jail for “Sex Outside Marriage”

From today’s AOL/Huffpost:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported an alleged rape said Friday she decided to speak out in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of outsiders misunderstanding the Islamic-influenced legal codes in this cosmopolitan city.

The case has drawn outrage from rights groups and others in the West since the 24-year-old interior designer was sentenced Wednesday. It also highlights the increasingly frequent tensions between the United Arab Emirates’ international atmosphere and its legal system, which is strongly influenced by Islamic traditions in a nation where foreign workers and visitors greatly outnumber locals.

“I have to spread the word. … After my sentence we thought, `How can it get worse?'” Marte Deborah Dalelv told The Associated Press in an interview at a Norwegian aid compound in Dubai where she is preparing her appeal scheduled for early September.

Dalelv, who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar since 2011, claims she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker in March while she was attending a business meeting in Dubai.

She said she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called. The hotel staff asked if she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.

“Of course I want to call the police,” she said. “That is the natural reaction where I am from.”

Dalelv said she was given a medical examination seeking evidence of the alleged rape and underwent a blood test for alcohol. Such tests are commonly given in the UAE for alleged assaults and in other cases. Alcohol is sold widely across Dubai, but public intoxication can bring charges.

The AP does not identity the names of alleged sexual assault victims, but Dalelv went public voluntarily to talk to media.

Dalelv was detained for four days after being accused of having sex outside marriage, which is outlawed in the UAE although the law is not actively enforced for tourists as well as hundreds of thousands of Westerners and others on resident visas.

She managed to reach her stepfather in Norway after being loaned a phone card by another woman in custody.

“My stepdad, he answered the phone, so I said, that I had been raped, I am in prison … please call the embassy,” she recounted.

“And then I went back and I … just had a breakdown,” she continued. “It was very emotional, to call my dad and tell him what happened.”

Norwegian diplomats later secured her release and she has been allowed to remain at the Norwegian Seamen’s Center in central Dubai. She said her alleged attacker received a 13-month sentence for out-of-wedlock sex and alcohol consumption.

Dubai authorities did not respond to calls for comment, but the case has brought strong criticism from Norwegian officials and activists.

“This verdict flies in the face of our notion of justice,” Norway’s foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, told the NTB news agency, calling it “highly problematic from a human rights perspective.”

Previous cases in the UAE have raised similar questions, with alleged sexual assault victims facing charges for sex-related offenses. Other legal codes also have been criticized for being at odds with the Western-style openness promoted by Dubai.

On Thursday, Dubai police said they arrested a man who posted an Internet video of an Emirati beating a South Asian van driver after an apparent traffic altercation. Police said they took the action because images of a potential crime were “shared.”

In London, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, a group monitoring UAE affairs, said the Dalelv case points out the need for the UAE to expand its legal protections for alleged rape victims.

“We urge authorities to reform the laws governing incidents of rape in the country,” said Rori Donaghy, “to ensure women are protected against sexual violence and do not become the targets of prosecution when reporting crimes.”

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | | 2 Comments

Dubai’s Weight Loss Challenge: 1 Gram Gold Per Kilo Lost

AdventureMan called as I was booting up the laptop. “Did you hear that?” he exclaimed!
“I’m booting up now,” I laughed.
“What an opportunity for a scam!” he continued.
“Yes, like who does the official weigh in? Can they tell Fatma from Jamila in their abayas and niqab? Does this apply only to Emiratis, or also to guest-workers? Can they tell one laborer from another as they exchange cards?
In truth, paying people to lose weight works. I don’t know how well people are able to keep the weight off; that is always the big problem, no matter what the diet plan. Unless you commit to long term changes in the way you think about food and life-style activities, the weight is hard to keep off long term. But BIG BRAVO to Dubai for this inventive and bold challenge. 🙂
fat

From Arab News

DUBAI: KT ABDURABB

Thursday 18 July 2013

Last Update 18 July 2013 2:26 am

Need some motivation to cut that flab? If you live in Dubai, you can win gold to do just that. A new campaign “You are Worth … Your Weight in Gold” is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and achieving optimal body weight. The contest is open for public. 

The winner will be the one who loses maximum weight during the program period of 30 days from its inception on Friday this week. The top three winners will get a gold coin equivalent to AED 20,000. Other participants will get a gram of gold for each kilo reduced from their body weight. However, the minimum weight to lose for the eligibility is two kilograms.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Dubai Municipality officials said the winners will get two grams of gold if they could reduce at least two kilograms within one month. 

Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, said the initiative comes after the grand success of ‘Yallah Walk’ campaign launched in 2011.

“It is also aimed at introducing walking tracks in different parks in the city of Dubai. Walking is an easy and economic way to stay fit and healthy. The municipality has provided residents with safe and accessible walking tracks in urban and rural areas,’ Lootah said.

“Currently Dubai has a total of 91 places where one can practice sport activities. These include residential parks, public parks, jogging track and beaches. In addition to this, every year the civic body opens new parks in more areas and adds sports equipments and tools for the public to promote a healthy community, he said. 

“Ramadan is the most appropriate season to launch such initiatives as it reminds us about many health benefits of reducing weight and encourages us to take strong steps to change our bad lifestyles,’ he added. 

The weight of each participant will be measured during registration and at the end of program. Participants can register at the event sites any day during the period. Participants must have excess weight to reduce and stay away from unhealthy methods to lose weight.

The final weight will be measured after the Eid holidays on Aug. 16.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), said the DMCC is proud to support this health awareness drive to encourage society to change their daily routines in return for a healthier lifestyle.

‘We would highly encourage everyone from all walks of life to take part in this great initiative and hope DMCC’s contribution of AED 100,000 worth of gold coins will help motivate individuals reach the final target of improving and sustaining a healthy lifestyle and consequently a better quality of life,’ he said.

“I am sure Dubai can be the role model and astonish the world by its innovative ideas and initiatives,” said Anil Dhanak, general manager of Dubai Gold & Jewelry Group.”

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Diet / Weight Loss, Eid, ExPat Life, Food, Fund Raising, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Ramadan | , , | 1 Comment

Dubai Flash Mob – And I MIssed It!

Looks to me like maybe the Dubai Airport had a part in this . . . 🙂

November 11, 2011 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Events, ExPat Life | , | 5 Comments

Dubai Rape Case Update (Two)

In another tiny little article, but high up on page 3 of the Kuwait Times is:

UAE Court Upholds Verdict in Rape Case
Dubai: An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates yesterday upheld 15 year jail terms handed down against two Emiratis convicted of raping a French-Swiss teenager, and AFP journalist said. The judge in Dubai took just a few seconds to announce his ruling after proceedings opened. The defense wanted the sentences pronounced on December 12 to be quashed, and a lawyer for the two men told AFP after Sunday’s ruling that a further appeal would be lodged with the supreme court. Prosecutors had demanded the maximum punishment, which could have meant the death penalty. A third defendant is being tried in a juvenile court. One of the men who raped the European teenager was HIV-positive, but has since been found to be clear of the sexually transmittable disease. The boy’s mother, Veronique Robert, launched a media campaign to publicize the case and gather support for her demand that the UAE recognize homosexual rape in its legal system and set up institutions to treat AIDs sufferers. She protested against the original verdict, saying that “15 years is nothing for someone who knew he had AIDs.”

Comment: Did you read this sentence?:

One of the men who raped the European teenager was HIV-positive, but has since been found to be clear of the sexually transmittable disease.

Can you tell me who has been found to be clear of the disease? One of the men? The teenager?

Comment 2: Bravo, UAE judges!

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Just Bad English, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Political Issues | , , | 11 Comments