Irish air hostess freed after being charged with attempted suicide in Dubai

Tori Towey moved to the UAE in April last year for her job with Emirates
Tori Towey moved to the UAE in April last year for her job with Emirates - BBC

An air stewardess who was facing charges in Dubai of attempted suicide after trying to take her own life following alleged domestic abuse has been freed.

Tori Towey was banned from leaving the UAE, where she works for the Emirates airline, and faced jail after being charged with attempted suicide and alcohol abuse.

The 28-year-old, from Boyle in County Roscommon, Ireland, said she tried to take her own life after her South African husband allegedly attacked her, leaving her with severe bruises and injuries.

She survived but was told at a police station that she would face criminal charges and her passport was blocked.

On Wednesday, after diplomatic pressure from Dublin and international press attention, the travel ban and charges were ditched by authorities in the Gulf state.

Tori Towey alleged that her South African husband attacked her
Tori Towey alleged that her South African husband attacked her

The group Detained in Dubai had campaigned for the charges to be dropped.

Radha Stirling, the chief executive of the advocacy group, said: “The charges against Tori Towey have been officially withdrawn by Dubai police and the travel ban lifted.

“Tori and her mother are both over the moon and we are ever grateful for widespread support of the public, the media and the Irish government! We hope her transit at the airport will go smoothly and that no further attempts will be made to keep her in the country.”

Ms Towey’s plight was raised in Ireland’s parliament, the Dáil, on Tuesday. “She’s under incredible stress,” said Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Féin leader. “Tori is a Roscommon woman, and she wants to come home.”

Speaking under parliamentary privilege, Ms McDonald said Ms Towey had been a victim “of the most gross domestic violence”.

Simon Harris, Ireland’s Taoiseach, said he would be happy “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”.

Tori Towey, pictured on a raft
Ms Towey's plight was raised in Ireland's parliament

The next day, Mr Harris told the Irish parliament the travel ban on Ms Towey had been lifted.

“The Embassy will take Tori to the airport as soon as she is ready to go,” Mr Harris told MPs on Wednesday. “And the Embassy will of course continue to follow up the case which is still active as of now.”

Anyone found guilty of attempting suicide in Dubai faced a £1,050 fine or six months in prison before 2019, when the so-called offence was downgraded to a £210 fine.

The Gulf State also relaxed its alcohol laws to allow tourists to buy alcohol in state-controlled shops, which were previously only accessible for licence-holding residents.

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