Irish woman charged with ‘attempting suicide’ by Dubai court

<span>Tori Towey, from Boyle in County Roscommon, works in the UAE as an airline cabin crew member.</span><span>Photograph: detainedindubai.org</span>
Tori Towey, from Boyle in County Roscommon, works in the UAE as an airline cabin crew member.Photograph: detainedindubai.org

A 28-year-old woman from Ireland has been charged with “attempting suicide” by a court in Dubai, with politicians and campaigners calling for her release.

Tori Towey, who works in the United Arab Emirates as an airline cabin crew member, was allegedly attacked and left with severe bruising and other injuries in a violent incident.

Towey, from Boyle in County Roscommon, was taken to a police station where she was told she was being charged with attempted suicide and abusing alcohol.

The Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, who has been supporting her, told the parliament in Ireland on Tuesday that Towey’s passport was blocked and she cannot return to Ireland.

Simon Harris, the taoiseach, told the Dáil he is ready to “intervene” in the case. Harris said he was not aware of the case but noted that her plight had been raised with the minister for foreign affairs by Sinn Féin.

Related: Ex-Royal Marines reservist held in Dubai on spying charges

The taoiseach, who was responding to a question from McDonald, said: “Thank you, deputy McDonald, for bringing the case of Tori to my attention,” RTÉ reported.

“I’m not directly apprised of the situation, but I’m very happy to be directly apprised of it now,” he added.

Harris added he would work with the deputy “to intervene and see how we can support an Irish citizen in what sounds to be – based on what you tell me – the most appalling circumstances”.

Ireland’s department of foreign affairs told Sky News it is “aware of the case and is providing consular assistance”.

It added: “As with all consular cases, the department does not comment on the details of individual cases.”

McDonald told parliament: “She’s under incredible stress.

“Tori is a Roscommon woman, and she wants to come home.”

Towey, who moved to Dubai in April 2023, is staying in a rented property with her mother, Caroline, who travelled to be with her daughter.

The case against the cabin crew employee will be heard in court on 18 July.

Radha Stirling, CEO of the Detained in Dubai advocacy group, which is supporting the family, said it is calling on the country’s authorities to drop the charges, remove the travel ban and let Towey fly home with her mother.

Related: Dubai influencer fined €1,800 for trespassing on Sardinia’s pink beach

She added: “She has been charged with attempted suicide and alcohol consumption.

“Strangely, the UAE has gone to great public relations efforts to promote alcohol as legal in the country. In reality, people are still regularly charged with alcohol consumption and possession.

“Tori’s experience is nothing short of tragic and quite frankly, she is lucky to be alive.”

Stirling wrote on X that Michael Fitzmaurice, Teachta Dála of Ireland, told her that he has made representations to the UAE’s ambassador to Ireland and the department of foreign affairs.

The UAE government has been approached for comment.

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988, chat on 988lifeline.org, or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org

Advertisement