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Detained in Dubai

Charges dropped and travel ban lifted for Irish woman Tori Towey in Dubai

The Irish embassy in the UAE will bring her to the airport to travel home as soon as she is ready, the Taoiseach said.


THE DUBAI PUBLIC Prosecutions office has dropped the charges against Irish citizen Tori Towey, who had a travel ban lifted earlier today. 

Towey had been charged with attempted suicide and alcohol consumption, the Dáil heard yesterday. 

“Dubai Public Prosecution has closed the case involving Irish national Tori Towey after she and her husband, a South African national, were involved in a case featuring mutual charges of assault, dating back to May 2024,” the prosecution office said.

“The couple reached a reconciliation and withdrew the complaints filed against each other. Dubai Public Prosecution has also dropped the charges of attempted suicide against her considering the circumstances of the case and to enable her to return to normal life.”

The Irish embassy in the UAE will bring her to the airport to travel home as soon as she is ready to do so, Taoiseach Simon Harris told the Dáil this afternoon.

Speaking on Newstalk this afternoon, Towey’s aunt Ann said today’s news comes as a huge relief. 

She thanked Mary Lou McDonald, TD Claire Kerrane and Taoiseach Simon Harris for their work in highlighting Towey’s ordeal. 

Harris spoke to Towey today, after it emerged yesterday that the Irish woman had herself been charged with attempted suicide and consuming alcohol in the UAE city of Dubai.

Speaking to reporters this morning, the Taoiseach provided an update on Tori’s case and said the government had been working to bring Towey home.

He said this was his “absolute priority”.

Yesterday, the Dáil heard that the Irish woman living in Dubai has been prevented from leaving the country.

Raising the issue, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “She has been a victim of the most gross domestic violence. Her passport has been destroyed and a travel ban has been imposed on her.”

This morning, the Taoiseach said he doesn’t want to say too much given the level of diplomatic activity underway but that he has spoken to both Towey and her mother, Caroline.

“Tori has been through, in my view, the most horrific situation. And it is utterly, utterly unacceptable how an Irish citizen is being treated. That’s mild language in terms of how I feel,” he said.

She needs to be supported, she needs to be brought back to her home here in Ireland, and we need the travel ban lifted to make that happen.

“I had a conversation with the Tánaiste who is working on this matter as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I’ve spoken to our ambassador in the region as well and have been in constant contact with her on this matter since yesterday,” Harris added.

Tori’s story

During Leaders’ Questions today, Mary Lou McDonald again raised Towey’s case.

She told the Dáil: 

“Tori began working in Dubai as an airline attendant and she married last March. Since then Tori has been subjected to sustained and brutal domestic violence and abuse. And when she went to the authorities to seek help, instead of being protected, she was sent home with her husband. Her husband then destroyed her passport so she couldn’t travel and she couldn’t work. She couldn’t come back to Ireland.

Tori was in effect held captive by her abuser.

“Just over two weeks ago, she endured a particularly vicious beating. Her husband repeatedly slammed doors on her arms trying to break her limbs, and he tried to strangle her. She fled upstairs in a desperate attempt to escape the violence. And in desperation, she tried to take her own life.

When Tori came to she was surrounded by paramedics but instead of being taken to a hospital, she was taken to a police station.

“There she was charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse. Tori was placed in a cell with 50 other woman. She wasn’t told what she was charged with. She wasn’t given any information at all. Tori was released on bail, but her passport was blocked.”

McDonald called on the government to move with urgency to “end this nightmare”.

With reporting from David Mac Redmond

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