Monday, July 22, 2024

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

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human rights organisation Detained in Dubai, has also confirmed that the charges against Ms Towey have officially been withdrawn by the Dubai authorities.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

Tánaiste Micheál Martin welcomed the positive resolution to the case and commended the work of Ireland’s Ambassador to the UAE Alison Milton.

He said it has been a challenging and traumatic time for Ms Towey, but she is now doing well.

It is not yet known when Ms Towey and her mother will be getting a flight home but Mr Martin said that work is underway to facilitate their return as quickly as possible.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Martin said that the publicity surrounding the case since it was highlighted in the Dáil by Mary Lou McDonald on Tueday did not help to expedite a resolution to the matter.

“I would have known last evening that there was positive news on the way,” he said, explaining that due to the complex nature of such consular cases, it is his belief that he should not publicly comment until somebody is on the plane.

“People do things in the best faith but we tend to have our motis apprendi in terms of how we operate particularly where this involves information and so on,” Mr Martin said.

While this particular case has had its “twists and turns”, the important thing is that there has been a positive resolution, he added.

Different jurisdictions have different laws, norms and approaches and it is important that people travelling to and living in these places are aware of these, he advised.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Mary Lou McDonald said Ms Towey’s case raises the wider issue around the treatment of women and the abuse of human rights in other jurisdictions.

“I hope that the authorities and the royalty of Dubai is listening very carefully to this message: This is not acceptable. Not acceptable on any level. Not acceptable for any woman.

“We are not objects. We are not chattel. We are not the possession of anybody and our human rights matter and our safety matters.”

On Wednesday Ms McDonald said that the public reaction and the support shown for Ms Towey was felt very strongly and eased the feeling of isolation while she was unable to travel home.

“I have found this whole episode to be grotesque and medieval in what it says around how women are treated,” Ms McDonald said.

She said it was “really distressing” that Ms Towey “wasn’t supported but instead was actually charged with offences herself”.

Treatment of Tori Towey ‘utterly unacceptable’

Earlier, Taoiseach Simon Harris said he had spoken with both Ms Towey and her mother, 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.

“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.

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