Qatar Expresses Regret Amid Row Over Strip-Search Of Women On Flight

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In its press release on October 28, 2020, Qatar government expresses “regret” for infringing on the personal freedom of female passengers during the search for the mother of an abandoned baby at the Hamad International Airport (HIA), Doha.

Earlier in October 18 women, including 13 Australian citizens, were removed from a Sydney bound plane and were forced to undergo compulsory medical examinations which also included vaginal inspections. The search was triggered after a baby was found concealed in a plastic bag buried under the garbage. The infant was rescued and was moved to a medical care unit in Doha.

The incident was reported to Australian authorities in Sydney on October 3, 2020. Some passengers had reported the incident to the Australian Federal Police while one sent an email Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister called this treatment of women as “unacceptable” and “appalling”. He also stated that his government would “continue to take a very strident approach” in seeking answers and ensuring it would never be repeated.

Qatar government stated how this “life-threatening violation of the law” had triggered an immediate search for the parents of the child. Replying to the incident, the Qatar government said: “the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action”.

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar has directed for “a comprehensive, transparent investigation into the incident”. He also promised that all the details “will be shared with our international partners” referring to the foreign nationals.

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