Aus Seeks Qatar’s Reply After Airline Strip-Searches Female Flyers
Authorities checked all women for signs of having recently given birth after a newborn was found in airport.
The Australian government has sought Qatar Airways’ response after "grossly disturbing" reports brought to light that women were strip-searched and examined before their flight from Doha to Sydney.
A newborn, unidentified baby was found abandoned in a toilet in Hamad International Airport in Doha, prompting airport authorities to check all women for signs of having recently given birth.
The incident occurred on 2 October but came to light now after many Australian women spoke out against it. Women from other countries, too, were strip-searched, reported BBC.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Company, 13 Australian women were taken to an ambulance and asked to remove their underwear to be examined.
“My legs were just wobbling. I was terrified they were going to take me away somewhere. Why didn’t they explain to us what was going on?” a passenger, identified as Kim Miles told The Guardian.
The Qatar government is yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.
The Australian government said that the incident was "grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events." The Australian Federal Police will reportedly determine the next step of action after response from Qatar government.
When asked if it was sexual assault by media, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said:
“No, I am not suggesting that because I have not seen the detailed report of the events.”
She added that all women, who were in 14-day quarantine in Sydeny due to COVID-19 restrictions, were given adequate medical support.
The newborn, meanwhile, is cared for by social workers in Doha.
(With inputs from The Guardian, BBC)
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