Qatar apologises, investigates forced airport examinations of female passengers

Clay Curtis
October 28, 2020

Authorities in Qatar launch an investigation as Doha News learns of more details on the harrowing story that saw women strip searched and an abandoned baby discovered at Doha's worldwide airport.

"I advised the head of mission in Doha that we would await the report because we had been given a commitment from the Qatari government that that would be provided".

"While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the awful crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action", the statement. The diplomat was not searched.

Australia's foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said Australia had registered its "serious concern" at the treatment of 18 Australian women on a Qatar Airways flight with the Qatari government. 28, 2020, after authorities forcibly examined female passengers from a Qatar Airways flight to Australia to try to identify who might have given birth to a newborn baby found abandoned at the airport earlier this month.

Australian media has previously reported that all adult women who had boarded one plane from Doha to Sydney were ordered to disembark, before most were body-searched.

The baby survived and was given medical care.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking about the issue for the first time, told reporters in Canberra that "Australia's strong objections and views" about the incident involving Australian travellers on October 2 were widely shared, without elaborating. It said the search was triggered by the discovery of a baby in a trash can at Hamad worldwide airport, "concealed in a plastic bag and buried under garbage". "Australia is not the only country affected".

Qatar's Prime Minister, Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, has called for a "comprehensive, transparent investigation" be conducted into the incident, the government statement said.

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Payne told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday that 10 flights leaving Hamad global airport in Doha had been caught up in the search.

Australia has referred the matter to its federal police, but says it will wait on further information before taking more steps.

She then put the live baby girl in a bag and dumped her in a bin before preceding to cover her with tissues in an attempt to hide the newborn. Sexual relations outside of wedlock are criminalised in Qatar, with hospitals required to report pregnant women to authorities.

Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, asked why the minister had chosen not to speak directly to her Qatari counterpart, and why she did not speak to the ambassador in person until the incident was reported this week.

On Wednesday, it also emerged that the number of planes targeted was much greater than first thought.

"I was incredulous that this could have happened", Ms Adamson told the Senate.

"This is not, by any standard, normal behaviour and Qatar recognise that, are appalled by it, do not want it to happen again and are working with other agencies", Adamson said. Doha News understands that Qatari law was not adhered to with security personnel failing to secure the required approvals for their searches whilst also failing to get consent from the women passengers.

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