Norwegian interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv has spoken out after being handed a 16-month prison sentence in Dubai -- after she went to police to report she had been raped by a colleague.
The 24-year-old was convicted and sentenced on charges of having unlawful sex, making a false statement and illegal consumption of alcohol.
Her story is dominating the headlines in Norway, and has raised serious questions over the way women who allege sexual assault are treated in the United Arab Emirates.
Dalelv, who had been working at an interior design firm in Qatar since September 2011, told CNN on Saturday how a work trip to Dubai in March with three colleagues turned into a nightmare.
She said she had been out at a bar with her colleagues and friends, and asked a male colleague to walk her to her room when they returned at 3 a.m. to the hotel. She'd asked him to escort her because the hotel was large and confusing, and she didn't want to be wandering on her own, knowing she'd been drinking, she said.
When they reached a room, she realized it wasn't hers -- but the man then pulled her inside despite her vocal objections, according to Dalelv.
"He dragged me by my purse in, so I thought, 'OK, I just need to calm the situation down. I will finish my bottle of water, I will sit here and then I will excuse myself and say I feel fine,'" she said.
That was pretty much the last thing she said she remembers before the alleged sexual assault. "I woke up with my clothes off, sleeping on my belly, and he was raping me. I tried to get off, I tried to get him off, but he pushed me back down."
After someone knocked -- the hotel wake-up call -- she managed to get dressed and make it downstairs to the hotel reception, Dalelv said. "I called the police. That is what you do. We are trained on that from when we are very young," she said.
Some 10 or 12 male police officers arrived, but no female police officers were present, she said. Statements were taken from both Dalelv and the alleged rapist.
She was then taken to Bur Dubai police station, she said.
After again giving her version of events to officers, Dalelv said, "They asked me, 'Are you sure you called the police because you just didn't like it?' I said, 'Well of course I didn't like it.' That is when I knew, I don't think they are going to believe me at all."
Dalelv says she was taken for an intimate medical exam and tested for alcohol consumption. Her belongings were taken and she was kept in jail for four days, she said, with no explanation as to why.
Dubai police and UAE government officials have not responded to repeated CNN requests for comment.
Dalelv said she managed to call her parents on the third day to tell them she had been raped and ask them to contact the Norwegian Embassy. A day later, a representative from the Norwegian consulate came to the police station and she was released -- but her passport was not returned.
A piece of paper with Arabic text was handed to her, she said. An Arabic speaker told her it listed two charges against her: one for sex outside of marriage and the other for public consumption of alcohol. Both are violations of the law in the United Arab Emirates.
It was the first time she was made aware that she faced charges, Dalelv said.
She was allowed out on bail and has been staying since at the Norwegian Seaman's Center in Dubai.
Subsequently, she said her manager advised her to tell the police it was voluntary sexual intercourse and likely the whole issue would just go away. She followed the advice and in one of the many hearings at the public prosecutor's office, she made a statement saying it was voluntary.
Dalelv was then charged with making a false statement.
"That was my biggest regret because it wasn't voluntary. I just thought it would all go away," she told CNN.
But a representative of Al Mana Interiors, who Dalelv worked for, told CNN that she was not advised by her manager to say the sex was consensual but rather by a police officer, who told her that in Arabic and it was translated into English by her manager.
Dalelv said a month after the rape, while forced to stay in Dubai as the case wound through the legal system, she was fired.
The representative, who declined to be publicly identified, said Dalelv and the Sudanese man she accused -- who is married with three children -- have both been terminated by Al Mana Interiors for "drinking alcohol at a staff conference that resulted in trouble with the police."
A statement released late Saturday by Al Mana Interiors spokesman Hani El Korek said the company was sympathetic to Dalelv "during this very difficult situation." It also said that company representatives were by her side through the initial investigation, spending "days at both the police station and the prosecutor's office to help win her release."