Saturday, July 13, 2024

Dubai authorities drop charges against Tori Towey

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Charges against Irish woman Tori Towey have been dropped, authorities in Dubai have said.

In a statement, the Government of Dubai Media Office confirmed that Dubai Public Prosecution has closed the case involving Ms Towey.

A travel ban imposed on the 28-year-old was also lifted.

It is understood Ms Towey will be taken to Dubai Airport by Irish embassy officials as soon as she is ready to go.

Ms Towey’s case was raised in the Dáil by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who said the she could not leave Dubai after she was attacked in her home and faced charges of attempted suicide and alcohol consumption.

Deputy McDonald welcomed the lifting of Ms Towey’s travel ban.

She described the approach of the authorities in Dubai to domestic violence as “grotesque and medieval”.

The Taoiseach said this was a situation that “should never have happened”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, he said Ms Towey had been the victim of a “brutal attack” and she should have been supported.

“Imagine having endured that and waking up not in a hospital being supported and cared for, but in a police station,” he said.

The Taoiseach said that when he last spoke with Ms Towey she and her mother were making arrangements to get to the airport and get on a flight.

He said that while the outcome was good, the situation was still a “horrific nightmare” that no one should have to experience, adding that he was “extremely frustrated” that an Irish citizen found themselves in this position.

“We talk about zero tolerance in this country towards any sort of domestic sexual and gender-based violence and I want to be clear to countries right around the world – we extend that zero tolerance to any of our citizens, no matter where they are based in this world.”

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Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane said Ms Towey contacted her earlier this afternoon to tell her how relieved she was at being allowed to travel.

“It’s been a terrible and difficult time for her, her mother and her family,” she told RTÉ’s Drivetime.

“I’m just relieved that politics has done right in this situation – we came together, we did the right thing and good has prevailed. I’m very grateful that that’s the situation now this evening.”

‘Challenging’ experience for Towey – Martin

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said Ms Towey and her mother would “hopefully” be leaving Dubai “as quickly as possible” and that arrangements are being made for them to return to Ireland.

In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs this afternoon, Mr Martin said: “I warmly welcome the news that Tori Towey is now free to return to Ireland.

“I hope she will be able to do so as soon as possible. This is an outcome that Ambassador Alison Milton, officials, and our Embassy in UAE have been working on for the last while.

“We are glad for Tori and her family, and we wish her all the very best in the future.

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Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, he said the experience has been “challenging” for Ms Towey.

“It has been very traumatic and very difficult. Different jurisdictions have different norms and different approaches, which sometimes don’t approximate to ours,” he said.

“But we work with the authorities in such situations and we work to try and resolve issues of this kind. That’s the importance of very strong diplomats on the ground.”

Read more: Relatives of Tori Towey welcome lifting of travel ban

An aunt of Ms Towey said the family “cannot wait” to get her home.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Ann Flynn, the sister of Ms Towey’s mother, said: “It’s really terrible that this has happened to a young woman who was full of life and full of adventure, and loved travelling.”

Ms Flynn said she has been in touch with her sister and niece several times a day since the case arose.

“They’re both trying to keep positive, we’re trying to keep positive as well, but it’s on your mind constantly and I’m sure it’s on their minds … it’s so far away.”

‘Desperate to come home’ – activist group

A human rights activist with the group Detained in Dubai said Ms Towey is “desperate to come home”.

Speaking on the same programme, Radha Stirling said she had validated the charges Ms Towey is facing with the Department of Public Prosecutions in Dubai.

“So, there’s been no differences to the charges … which is very bizarre since they allegedly decriminalised attempted suicide in the past couple of years.”

She said the UAE has also promoted that it has decriminalised alcohol consumption, “so, it’s quite surprising that they would proceed to charge…take her to court knowing that she obviously needs help, needs to just go home with her family.”

Ms Stirling said Ms Towey and her mother have been “really, really warmed at the Irish community, at the Irish Government” and “everyone rallying behind them and 100% supporting them.”

Ms Towey has lived in Dubai since last year after she got a job with Emirates Airlines.

Ms Stirling said: “I think when it comes to a case like this, it’s all about diplomacy. Without the support of the Irish Government, she would be likely to face prison and charges and deportation.”

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