updated 18:49 GMT 07.22.13 Dubai pardons Norwegian who reported her rape CNN

Dubai (CNN) – A Norwegian woman who was sentenced to prison in Dubai after reporting that she was raped has been given a pardon and will be heading home soon, she said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Marte Deborah Dalelv seemed relieved and happy as she confirmed the news — if still slightly bewildered by the swift turn of events.

“They told me that I would be pardoned and that they were going to give me my passport back, so I got it immediately,” she said.

Asked what happens next, Dalelv paused a moment before replying: “I get to go home.”

She added, “We want to make it as soon as possible.”

Dalelv has her passport in her possession and filed the paperwork for an exit visa Monday afternoon. She hopes to find out Tuesday when she can leave the country.

A spokeswoman for Norway’s Foreign Ministry, Ragnhild Imerslund, said Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had said Dalelv was free to travel where she wants and can remain in Dubai if she chooses.

The sheikh, who is vice president of the United Arab Emirates, also said the 24-year-old had not been and would not be deported, Imerslund said. She is expected to travel in a day or two, the spokeswoman said.

Dalelv, a Qatar-based interior designer, was on a work trip to Dubai when she reported to police that she had been raped by a colleague at the hotel where she was staying.

She was herself then detained and charged with having unlawful sex, making a false statement and illegal consumption of alcohol. A court last week sentenced her to 16 months in prison, prompting outrage in Norway.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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