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Travel ban lifted and charges against Irish woman Tori Towey in Dubai dropped



Travel ban lifted and charges against Irish woman Tori Towey in Dubai dropped

The travel ban placed on Irish woman Tori Towey has been lifted this afternoon, Taoiseach Simon Harris has told the Dáil.

Radha Stirling, chief executive at the human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, has also confirmed that the charges against Ms Towey have officially been withdrawn by the Dubai authorities.

The Irish embassy in the United Arab Emirates will now bring Ms Towey, and her mother Caroline who had travelled to be with her daughter, to the airport to get a flight home as soon as they are ready to do so.

Ms Towey, who is from Roscommon, was being detained in Dubai after being charged with attempting to take her own life in what has been described as a desperate bid to escape alleged domestic violence.

Ms Towey had been hospitalised with extensive injuries after an alleged assault by her husband.

Mr Harris had earlier said he had spoken with both Ms Towey and her mother Caroline, and said that Ireland’s ambassador in the region has been in constant contact with her since yesterday.

Calling the treatment of the 28-yeard-old “utterly, utterly unacceptable”, Mr Harris said that he was using “mild language” in describing the situation, adding that he cannot say too much due to the ongoing diplomatic activity.

“Tori has been through, in my view, the most horrific situation,” Mr Harris said outside Leinster House.

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

For Ms Towey to be facing criminal charges in Dubai for “attempted suicide” and alcohol consumption is unimaginable to most people, said Mr Harris.

That a woman can be the victim of a brutal attack and found herself waking up not in a hospital but a police station.

Getting Ms Towey home to Roscommon is his priority as Taoiseach, he said, adding that the Tánaiste is also working on the matter.

For his part, Micheál Martin said that work has been ongoing in relation to Ms Towey’s case for some time. He told Shannonside FM that his department is engaging constructively with the Dubai authorities and he said progress was being made. 

“I think if we can be given a degree of space, I believe we can continue to make progress on this.”

While Mr Martin would not make any promises due to the complex nature of consular cases, he said that there are generally good relations between Ireland and Dubai and he is hopeful of a positive outcome.

“I understand the anxiety and stress of all of this but what I want to assure people that every effort is being made to ensure that Tori is in a position to come home,” said Mr Martin.

On Wednesday, her family said they are ‘”very, very anxious”. 

The woman’s aunt, Anne Flynn, said the family is hoping that diplomatic efforts will lead to the charges being dropped to allow Ms Towey to return to Ireland.

Detained in Dubai

Radha Stirling, chief executive at the human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, who has been helping the Toweys, said: “It’s amazing that authorities did not intervene for Tori’s protection, given the state her body was in when she was hospitalised the first time.

“Worse than failing her, authorities in Dubai actually travel-banned her and kept her in the country when she was trying to get away.

“The UAE used to charge rape victims with ‘sex outside marriage’. Now they’re charging domestic violence victims with ‘attempted suicide’ and alcohol consumption. Dubai police need to be educated on victim care.”

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