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As Dubai Jails Woman Reporting Rape for 16 Months, NOW a UN Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 20 -- The UN has provided a comment a day after being asked by Inner City Press about the case of Norwegian woman who went to work in Dubai and reported being raped there in March, then sentenced to 16 months in jail for having sex out of wedlock.

At the UN in New York, Inner City Press on Friday asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if the UN Secretariat had any comment on the jail sentence. Video here from Minute 15:40. Here is the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: an individual case, but one that’s generated quite a lot of interest, where Dubai and the UAE [United Arab Emirates] has sentenced to 16 months in jail a woman from Norway that went to the police with a rape complaint and then was… has been charged with having sex out of wedlock and jailed.  And I wanted to know, given the… the… the… whatever, if there is any comment from the UN Secretariat on that?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky:  I don’t think so, no.  I am not dismissing this story, I simply don’t have any comment on that, and I would need to check further in case there was any comment.

Inner City Press: Okay.

Spokesperson:  I think whether individual cases; it is not always appropriate for the United Nations Secretariat to comment, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t look into it, okay.

 As noted, it may sometimes be true that "in individual cases it is not always appropriate for the UN Secretariat to comment," but here the woman stayed quiet from March until this week hoping it would help. It did not.

She has come forward, saying her name is Marte Dalelv and she was recruited to work in Dubai by a company called The One -- which fired her after she reported being raped.

On Saturday morning, July 20, the following came in:

Subject: Question
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

On your question about the case in the UAE: Violence against women is unacceptable, no matter where it happens, and no matter what form it takes. The UN hopes that all violations such as these cases are redressed and that women worldwide have access to justice.

The One's website is still playing music, and lists in Dubai “Fusion Al Quoz Theatre & Deli, Jumeirah Theatre & Deli, Mall of the Emirates Theatre, THE One Outlet and Wafi Boutique Theatre,” as well as locations in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia and Qatar.

  The CEO of The One, Thomas Lundgren, has been tweeting Instagram photos of himself watching black and white TV with his grandmother, most recently on July 16. Sounds like UNsocial media.


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