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.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.