Women on 10 flights from Qatar invasively examined

Australian airline workers mull Qatar Airways boycott over invasive passenger searches

A group of female passengers, including 13 Australians, were subjected to invasive searches earlier this month after a premature baby was found in a bathroom at Hamad International Airport.

Hamad International Airport management said earlier this week there were concerns for the mother's health after the infant was found.

The invasive searches came to light this week after passengers contacted authorities in Australia.

"The matters which are being discussed in relation to this matter are very concerning and very distributing and the Australian government has been clear about that", Ms Payne said.

Qatar's government has apologised and said the baby girl was safe in medical care in Doha.

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.

Australia revealed Wednesday that female passengers on 10 planes flying out of Doha were forced to endure "appalling" physical examinations, as Qatar expressed regret for the distress caused to the women.

"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".

This triggered a search, including nearby flights, for the infant's parents, the Qatari government said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told a hearing in Australia's Senate that women on "10 aircraft in total" had been subject to the searches, which she has described as "grossly disturbing" and "offensive".


Payne said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had not become aware of the number of other flights affected until Tuesday.

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

"While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the frightful crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action", a statement posted on a government website said.

"The State of Qatar remains committed to ensuring the safety, security and comfort of all travellers transiting through the country", it continued.

Payne did not detail the destinations of the other flights, adding she was unaware whether any Australian women were on those planes.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani had ordered an investigation and the results would be shared with global partners, it added.

"As a father of a daughter, I could only shudder at the thought that anyone would, Australian or otherwise, would be subjected to that", he said.

It has also emerged that the Australian government was first alerted to the incident on October 4.

Adamson said Qatar had "a reaction to this incident which I think matches our own in terms of level of distress, abhorrence and a deep questioning of how this can have happened".

"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.

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