A young Norwegian woman has been sentenced to 16 months in jail after she reported a rape in Dubai.
The 25-year-old was in the United Arab Emirates on a business trip when she was raped and reported the assault to the local police.
Dubai police did not believe her, and instead took her passport and jailed her on suspicion of having had sex outside marriage.
The Norwegian woman reported the sexual assault in March this year, after which she had to spend days in a cell before she was allowed to use a telephone.
With the help of family members, the Norwegian consulate was able to negotiate a release and she has been living under the protection of the Norwegian Sailor’s Church until her sentencing 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 told Verdens Gang.
‘It is a terrible situation she is in,’ said Gisle Meling, the priest at the Norwegian Sailor’s Church.
‘We are very surprised and had hoped it would go another way, but we live in a country which has a justice system which draws its conclusions with the help of Sharia law.’
She was sentenced to one year and four months in jail but as Norway has no extradition treaty with Dubai, her future is uncertain.
The young Norwegian woman's story is not unique.
Earlier this year Australian Alicia Gali, 27, spoke of how she was thrown in a Dubai jail for eight months after she reported a rape.
Miss Gali was working at hotel chain Starwood when her drink was spiked in the staff bar.
She awoke to find that three colleagues had raped her, but when she went to a hospital for help, they turned her over to the police and she was charged with illicit sex outside marriage.
Under UAE law, rapists can only be convicted if either the perpetrator confesses or if four adult Muslim males witness the crime.
Under the Sharia-influenced laws, sex before marriage is completely forbidden and an unmarried couple holding hands in public can be jailed.
Foreigners jailed in Dubai are deported immediately after completing their sentences.