Dubai boss says sent hate mail over Norwegian rape victim

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Thomas Lundgren, the owner of Dubai-based The ONE.

Thomas Lundgren, the owner of Dubai-based The ONE.

The owner of Dubai-based The ONE said he and his family had received hate mail and threats to rape his daughters after it was revealed a Norwegian employee was sacked amid claims she had been raped.

Marte Deborah Dalelv was terminated from her position at Doha-based Al Mana Interiors, a franchisee of The ONE owned by Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, several weeks after she claimed she was raped by a colleague during a business trip to Dubai in March.

When Dalelv, 24, reported the incident to police she was charged with extramarital sex and illegally drinking alcohol. She was later also charged with making a false statement after retracting her initial allegations in a bid to have the charges against her dropped.

Dalelv was fired on April 9, more than three months before a Dubai court heard her case.

She was convicted and sentenced to 16 months’ jail on July 17 but was pardoned on Monday by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, following international outrage and pleas from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

The ONE owner Thomas Lundgren, who had kept close contact with Dalelv while she was on bail in Dubai, told Arabian Business his family, including three adult daughters, had become a target of international hate mail in the past week.

“My daughters have been told they have a rapist as a father,” Lundgren said.

“They have been told that they should be raped so I understand how it is. My daughters have got so much hate mail, from Norwegians mostly.

“The [worst] one said ‘I’m going to rape your three daughters then you’re going to see how it feels’.”

Lundgren, who on Monday conceded that pre-emptively sacking Dalelv was “absolutely wrong” and promised to reinstate her position if she wanted it, said the outrage had taken a toll on his family.

“You can’t be prepared for this stuff,” he said.

The termination letter, signed by Al Mana, said Dalelv had been fired because of “unacceptable and improper behaviour”.

“... your employment agreement is termination [sic] due to your unacceptable and improper behavior [sic] during your last business trip in Dubai, which has resulted in your arrest by the Police Authorities in UAE,” the letter says.

In a statement on Sunday, Al Mana Interiors defended the termination, claiming it had been forced to fire Dalelv after communication with her and her lawyers broke down.

Lundgren told Arabian Business it had been “a mistake”.

“That was a mistake because it has no justice,” he said.

“The termination was absolutely wrong. That was unnecessary, totally unnecessary.

“If she wants to work [in Doha] or for us she has a job.”

Lundgren said the male colleague accused of rape, who also had his 13-month jail term for extramarital sex quashed, also would be offered back his job.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Really

She did go to the law they might not have been very nice to her but they did investigate, sent a forensic team to the hotel, looked at the CCTV footage, conducted medical investigation and test on her.

They concluded that there was no basis for a rape charge, if the police in any other country had done exactly the same it would have been excepted. Do you think the charge people with making a false claim lightly, don't you think they would have had evidence to back up their charge.

Why is it that everyone is happy to believe one women over the police, medical examiner, prosecutor and Judge?

Posted by: SA1

Well said. The police here has done a good job. Just read what she has to say herself in Gulfnews article.

It seems most western media is already assuming she is innocent and the other guy has to be a rapist, when it is proven it is consensual.

As for the law here related to consensual sex between unmarried it is well known.

Posted by: RAH

"Why is it that everyone is happy to believe one women over the police, medical examiner, prosecutor and Judge?"

Exactly! Totally agree. Well said.

Posted by: Andre

While any "threat to rape" is unacceptable and should be pursued by police (..a biased outcome is possible, as documented in 2 high-profile cases the police have handled recently - including this one..)

However the statement from Mr. Lundgren: ?..me and [Al Mana] have had long discussions about this and me and him feel we should have been much more involved..?. BUT they weren't..!! It shows that - again and again - companies here side with government authorities (i.e. the police) when it comes to handling matters of employees who - for any reason whatsoever - become involved with the police etc. Instead of being helpful in times which much be highly stressful, companies abandon their employees and let them fend for themselves.

Posted by: Rob Storm

When you live and work in a foreign country, you must abide by their laws, whether you believe the laws or not. The charges were for unlawful sex and drinking, which are both illegal in this region.
As for the sacking, maybe this was a bit harsh but breaking the law is also disrespecting your employer.

Posted by: Qatari

Of course they side the government, they are protected by the law and they are against all unlawful acts by their employees, no matter what your opinion is about this case, the law is the law.

Posted by: Qatari

There you go everyone, this is how Norwegians like to deal with issues. Shows how uneducated and ignorant some people are. Please Norway, stop this Dark Age Europe acts and be more civilized, this is the 21st century.

Posted by: Ed B

Qatari, Yes, I condemn those behaviours as well. Unfortunately, the news has reached the whole world (not Norway alone), and was placed in context of some previous absorb outcomes of legal cases (read the news paper forums). This definitely has opened up a lot of emotions. As long it stays with words, its minor. Also, consider this: outside this region we can go to the law and seek protection in it.

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