x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Irish citizen held in Dubai after name appears on Interpol list

Death sentence fear in Egypt for mum given asylum by Ireland.

DUBAI // An Arab woman granted asylum and citizenship in Ireland 10 years ago has been arrested on holiday in Dubai after her name appeared on an Interpol wanted list.

There are fears the woman, 44, who was on an Irish passport, may be deported to Egypt and forced to stand trial for an alleged crime committed in 1999.

Her daughter, a student in Dublin, asked that her family name be withheld for fear of persecution should her mother be deported.

"I was shocked when I heard what had happened," said the daughter, 24. "I'm putting pressure on the Irish government to repatriate her. If she's deported to Egypt there's a real threat to her life."

The Irish department of foreign affairs confirmed the situation and said it was in contact with authorities in Dubai.

"Our consular services team are in contact with the woman in question and her family in Ireland," said a spokesman.

The woman was granted asylum in Ireland in 2001 on the grounds that she was at risk of a death sentence should she return to Egypt.

She is accused of forging her husband's death certificate to gain custody of her children and the right to take them out of the country. She was given Irish citizenship in 2005.

"She's been travelling before and nothing happened then," said the daughter. "If she knew there was a risk of this happening she would never have gone to Dubai."

The woman is believed to have been detained at Muraqabat police station. She has been in contact with the Irish embassy but it is not clear what help has been offered.

Dubai Police were unavailable for comment.

mcroucher@thenational.ae