Charges faced by Roscommon woman dropped by UAE


Detained in Dubai group Tori ToweyDetained in Dubai group

Irish woman Tori Towey is in “the most appalling circumstances” in the United Arab Emirates, the Dáil heard

Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have withdrawn the charges against Irish woman Tori Towey and have closed the case, it has been confirmed.

The 28-year-old from Roscommon was facing charges including attempted suicide and consuming alcohol and had her passport destroyed.

She had been working as a flight attendant based in Dubai – the largest city in the UAE.

The Dubai Public Prosecution has confirmed to the BBC that it has dropped the case.

Radha Stirling, a lawyer and human rights advocate who runs the Detained in Dubai group, said Ms Towey and her mother were “over the moon” at the news.

“We are ever grateful for widespread support of the public, the media and the Irish government,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“We hope her transit at the airport will go smoothly and that no further attempts will be made to keep her in the country.”

Travel ban lifted

Earlier, Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Simon Harris said a travel ban preventing Ms Towey from leaving the UAE had been lifted.

“The embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go,” he told the Dáil (lower house of Irish parliament).

“The embassy will of course continue to follow up on the case which is still active as of now… and to thank our embassy for the work in relation to that”.

Reuters Simon HarrisReuters

Taoiseach Simon Harris pledged to intervene on behalf of Tori Towey

Previously the taoiseach said it was “utterly, utterly unacceptable how an Irish citizen is being treated”.

Mr Harris also said he had spoken to Ms Towey and her mother, who is with her in the UAE.

He went on to say Ms Towey had “been the victim of male violence”.

“What Tori has been through is, I think, unimaginable for so many people here in this country, that a woman who has been the victim of a brutal attack found herself waking up not in a hospital, but in a police station,” he said.

‘Want to start a new chapter’

On Wednesday, Ann Flynn, Ms Towey’s aunt, told BBC Radio Foyle’s North West Today programme that Tori and her whole family had been through a huge ordeal but she hoped the end was now in sight.

“The travel ban being lifted is a huge relief, I didn’t actually quite believe it when I heard it,” Ms Flynn said.

“Hopefully they will be home tomorrow. They haven’t actually got a flight sorted yet and we are just waiting to hear next steps.”

Ms Flynn praised everyone who helped highlight her niece’s case.

“When they arrive in Ireland, it will be such a relief,” she said.

“We just want her home, we just want to start a new chapter with her.”

Timeline: How Tori Towey’s ordeal developed

  • 28 June – After allegedly being assaulted, Ms Towey is charged with attempting suicide
  • 9 July – Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald raises her situation in the Dáil and says her passport has been destroyed and she has been banned from travelling
  • Taoiseach Simon Harris says the Irish government will do what it can to help Ms Towey
  • 10 July – Mr Harris says he has spoken to Ms Towey and that she is increasingly positive about the situation
  • The taoiseach later confirms the travel ban has been lifted and she is preparing to travel to the airport and home to Ireland
  • The Dubai Public Prosecution confirms the case against Ms Towey has been dropped

‘Most gross domestic violence’

The case came to international attention after it was raised by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil (Irish lower house of parliament) on Tuesday.

She said Ms Towey’s mother had travelled to Dubai to be with her and that she “wants to come home”.

“She has been the victim of the most gross domestic violence,” Ms McDonald said.

“Her passport has been destroyed. There was a travel ban imposed on her.”

The Irish government should make it “absolutely plain to the authorities of Dubai that no woman should be treated in this way”, Ms McDonald told the Dáil, and that “an Irish citizen, an Irish woman, will not be treated in this way”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance.

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can visit BBC Action Line.

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