Irish woman has charges withdrawn by Dubai police

Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have withdrawn the charges against Irish woman Tori Towey, a lawyer assisting her case has said.

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.

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."

The BBC has approached the UAE government for comment on the case.

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".

Simon Harris
Taoiseach Simon Harris pledged to intervene on behalf of Tori Towey [Reuters]

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.

Family 'very hopeful'

On Wednesday morning Ms Towey's aunt, Ann Flynn, told Irish broadcaster RTÉ the family were "all very, very anxious" but also hopefu.

"We keep hoping that we will get word that they’re on a plane on their way home. I don’t know will this court case go ahead or if it does what will happen?" Ms Flynn said.

She said she had been in contact with Ms Towey and her mother "every day, several times a day".

She described Ms Towey as a "beautiful young woman" who loved to travel, "was full of life and full of adventure".

Ms Flynn described how Ms Towey and her mother, Caroline, were trying to keep positive as were the rest of the family.

"But it's on your mind constantly and I'm sure it's on their mind," she said.

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

'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.