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Dubai rape case Norwegian woman 'free to go'

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A Norwegian woman at the centre of a Dubai rape case dispute has been pardoned and is free to leave Dubai, she has said - reports BBC.

Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped in March.

She reported the attack to the police, but was charged with perjury, having extramarital sex and drinking alcohol, receiving a 16-month prison sentence.

The case has angered rights groups and the Norwegian authorities.

Ms Dalelv had had her passport returned and was free to leave the country, a Norwegian official told the BBC. She was not being deported, and was expected to return to Norway in the next few days.

A worker at the Norwegian Seamen's Centre in Dubai, where Ms Dalelv has been allowed to stay since she was sentenced last week, said Ms Dalelv was "relieved and happy" at the news.

In Norway, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tweeted: "Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help."

The Norwegian government said it had been in daily contact with the Dubai authorities through diplomatic and official channels since Ms Dalelv was sentenced - arguing the jail term represented a human rights violation.

Ms Dalelv went public about the sentence last week in a series of interviews.

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