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Irish domestic violence victim detained in Dubai on charges of attempted suicide

A 28 year old Emirates Airlines cabin crew employee became the victim of brutal domestic violence leading to an attempt to take her own life. Rather than helping her go home to Ireland with her mother, Dubai authorities charged her with attempted suicide and alcohol consumption. She now faces lengthy imprisonment in jails notorious for human rights abuses and torture.

Tori Towey from Boyle in Co Roscommon, Ireland, made the exciting move to Dubai in April 2023 when she was offered a job with Emirates Airlines but the good life turned ugly when her new South African boyfriend who she met through work and quickly married, began a campaign of physical, psychological and financial abuse.

Tori’s mother told Detained in Dubai, “He cut her off from her friends and family. If we tried to contact her, she got in trouble.” Her husband was constantly threatening Tori and her friends, and would go on rampages, destroying property including her phone and passport.

He became out of control, causing havoc at local venues like McCaffreys Pub where he was restrained by security staff and the police were called. Strangely, the police told him to go home and for Tori to accompany him. She drove herself home instead, hoping he would be calm by the time she arrived. “The horrific events that transpired next will forever scar Tori”, asserted Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who is helping the family.

Violent assault.

Tori’s husband attacked her, began beating her up and went after her with a knife. He kicked her, bit her, choked and punched her. He jammed her arm in the bathroom door, slamming it repeatedly, trying to break it. For several hours, Tori was tortured. He told her he would kill her slowly then ripped up both of their passports. By the grace of God, the neighbours interrupted and Tori was taken away in an ambulance. She filed a police report but sustained egregious injuries.

Emirates Airlines gave her time off work to recover. When replacing her passport, she found out there was a travel ban against her but wasn’t sure why.  Detained in Dubai confirmed that it's commonplace for spouses to open pre-emptive cases against the victim to try to immunise themselves from their own criminal cases.

Like most other domestic violence victims, Tori returned home hoping the behaviour would stop.

Emirates Airlines had fired him for behavioural issues. He had no money of his own and began using Tori’s credit cards excessively. Tori noticed the high spend and put a stop on the card, knowing debt in Dubai can lead to travel bans and even jail. “Tori knew he would be upset and probably beat her up so she diligently left the house”, explains Stirling. “Her mother Caroline arranged a hotel room where she could hide. After a few days, Tori returned to the home to mind their dog and collect some clothes. He was at home but thankfully there was peace, at least for a few days.

Captive in Dubai.

“Tori arranged to fly home to Ireland but when she arrived at the airport, was told a case against her by her husband had been dropped but the travel ban remained. She attended the police station who assured her the travel ban would be lifted but it never happened. She was stuck”.

The escape.

“The next day, Tori and her husband had some wine and he became enraged, accusing her of having an affair. He was shouting and pushing her around. She knew what was going to happen next. She thought he was going to kill her, "slowly" as he had promised before. Feeling like there was no way out, Tori ran upstairs to the bathroom and wrapped an electrical lead around her neck.

“The next thing she remembers is an ambulance crew and police waking her up. She was taken to Al Barsha police station and kept for several hours before going home again. Her mother pleaded to the Irish Consulate but in the absence of their assistance, boarded a flight to Dubai.  When she arrived, she wasn’t allowed to see Tori alone, her abuser wouldn’t allow it. The three met at Emirates mall then attended the prosecutor's office to find out what charges had been registered against her”.

The victim is charged.

Tori was told nothing could be done and that the cases against her were going to court on the 18th of July. She had 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.

After all three arrived back at Tori's house, her husband went to the pub with a friend. Returning late, he began verbally abusing Tori, pushing her around again. Tori and her mother quickly packed a bag and left the house, this time for good.

Going home.

“Tori’s experience is nothing short of tragic and quite frankly, she is lucky to be alive”, added Stirling who has helped in numerous domestic violence cases including that of Princess Latifa. “It’s amazing that authorities did not intervene for Tori’s protection, given the state her body was in when she was hospitalised the first time. Emirates Airlines, the Irish Embassy and the UAE medical and police services could certainly have done more to help Tori. She was moments from death either by suicide or at the hands of her violent rage driven husband.he Irish Embassy and the UAE medical and police services could certainly have done more to help Tori. She was moments from death either by suicide or at the hands of her violent rage driven husband.

“Worse than failing her, authorities in Dubai actually travel-banned her and kept her in the country when she was trying to get away. They put her in a hopeless position resulting in her attempt to kill herself to escape the imminent threat of assault and likely murder. As if that wasn’t enough, Dubai police then want to prosecute her for trying to get away via the only means she saw available at the time. It’s outrageous, it’s broken.

“The UAE used to charge rape victims with sex outside marriage. Now they’re charging domestic violence victims with attempted suicide and alcohol consumption. Dubai police need to be educated on victim care.

“We are calling on Dubai authorities to urgently drop the charges against Tori, remove the travel ban and let her fly home to Ireland with her mother.

“We are also calling on Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Simon Harris, the head of Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Ambassador Alison Milton and local TD’s, Michael Fitzmaurice, Claire Kerrane & Denis Naughten as well as the UAE’s Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Mohammed Hmoud Hamad Rahma Alshamsi to help bring Tori home.”


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