Irish PM to intervene in case of woman detained in Dubai

by Matt Fox, BBC News NI

Tori Tway arrested in DubaiArrested in Dubai

Irish woman Tori Torway is in the “worst situation” in the United Arab Emirates, the House of Commons heard.

An Irish woman is facing criminal charges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for attempted suicide and alcohol misuse, in what the Taoiseach has called a “most terrifying situation”.

Simon Harris said he was prepared to intervene in the case, responding to a question from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil, Ireland’s House of Commons, on Tuesday.

Mr MacDonald told MPs that Tori Torway, of County Roscommon, had her passport destroyed.

The BBC has contacted the UAE government for comment on the incident.

Mr Harris said he was unaware of the case against the 28-year-old Ms Towey but thanked Sinn Fein for raising it with him and the foreign secretary and would consider how they could help Ms Towey.

“The worst kind of domestic violence”

Ms Toway works as a flight attendant and is believed to be based in Dubai, the UAE’s largest city.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr McDonald said he had spoken to Mr Toohey on Tuesday.

She said Ms Tway’s mother had travelled to Dubai to be with her and that she “wanted to go home”.

“She was a victim of the most severe domestic violence,” McDonald said.

“Her passport has been destroyed. She has been issued with a travel ban.”

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Ms McDonald told the House of Commons that the Irish government “must send a clear message to the Dubai authorities that no woman should be treated like this. Irish people, Irish women, will not be treated like this.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the incident and was providing consular assistance.

“The government is of course supporting us.”

Torway is being supported by Radha Sterling, a human rights activist and lawyer who runs the Dubai Detainees Group.

“Tori goes on trial next week. She’s been charged with drinking alcohol and attempting suicide, both of which have historically been illegal in this country,” Stirling told BBC News NI.

She explained that Towey is subject to a travel ban and cannot leave the UAE.

“The Irish government is naturally supporting us to encourage the UAE police to drop the case against her,” Stirling said.

Reuters Simon HarrisReuters

Prime Minister Simon Harris has promised to intervene on Tori Towey’s behalf.

Toway couldn’t afford a lawyer, which “makes it even more difficult and confusing for her,” she said.

She explained that even if they are acquitted, the legal process could take “many months,” but the family is optimistic that international pressure will help.

“If the Irish government supports her appeal and does everything they can diplomatically, it is very likely that she will return to Ireland next week,” she added.

“Thanks for all the support [Tori and her mother] We are overjoyed and very positive that things will go well next week.”

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