Aviation

Qatar charges airport police officers over invasive searches of women

Qatari authorities have filed criminal charges against police officers working at Hamad airport following allegations women were invasively searched there last month.

Qatar’s public prosecutor released a statement on Monday saying the officers had broken the law when they asked female medical staff to examine the women, according to Reuters.

The national carrier of Qatar received widespread criticism in October after women on 10 different aircraft, including 18 Australian women, were subject to invasive medical examinations when a newborn baby was found abandoned in a terminal at Hamad International Airport.

The public prosecutor did not mention which crimes the officers were guilty of or how many police officers had been charged, but said they were charged unilaterally and face a maximum penalty of three years.

The statement revealed the mother of the abandoned baby has been charged with attempted murder and that it had launched legal proceedings for her arrest.

The mother, who was described as of “Asian nationality”, has since left the country, but faces a maximum of 15 years if she is convicted.

The statement also said authorities had identified the baby’s father using a DNA test, and that the mother had sent him a message informing him she had just given birth, and she was abandoning the child and leaving the country.

Qatar’s Prime Minister has since apologised for the treatment of the women and promised those responsible would be held to account.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne welcomed the apology and said the government understands that matters will be referred in the Qatari legal system to the public prosecution office.

“We hope that that will be a transparent and appropriate and proportionate process in relation to this matter,” she said.


Featured image source: iStock/Leonid Andronov

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