Australian women subjected to invasive examinations at Doha airport say Qatar has not contacted them

Female passengers who were escorted off a Qatar Airways flight and made to undergo an intimate medical examination have yet to receive individual apologies from the airline. (File/AFP)
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Updated 18 November 2020

Australian women subjected to invasive examinations at Doha airport say Qatar has not contacted them

  • Staff at Doha airport demanded 18 women disembark a plane and follow security staff to a private area
  • The women were subject to intimate medical examinations in ambulances to see if they had recently given birth

LONDON: Female passengers who were escorted off a Qatar Airways flight and made to undergo an intimate medical examination have yet to receive individual apologies from the airline.
The women have not been contacted by the airline or the Qatari government since the incident that sparked international outrage took place on October 2, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
The lack of apologies come despite some passengers making a formal complaint to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian federal police (AFP) within 24 hours of arrival in Sydney.
Staff at Doha international airport violated standard procedure by demanding that 18 women, including 13 Australian citizens, disembark a plane and follow security staff to a private area of the airport, Qatari authorities have said.
The women were subject to intimate medical examinations in ambulances to see if they had recently given birth after a newborn baby was found abandoned at the airport.
Women from 10 other flights, which have yet to be publicly identified, were also examined.
The women, who have not been offered compensation for the distressing incident, have been contacted by the AFP and were interviewed by the law enforcement agency.
The AFP said it is committed to pursuing an investigation into their treatment and one of the passengers who was contacted by the agency said the AFP officer she spoke to was “genuinely committed” to supporting the welfare of passengers who were subjected to the disturbing examinations at Doha airport.
The group of passengers said they would be seeking individual written apologies and were considering the possibility of legal action.
They would also like a pledge from Qatari authorities that the safety of transit travelers at Doha airport be put ahead of other concerns in the future.


Tens of thousands of Sadr supporters pack Iraqi capital

Updated 50 min 49 sec ago

Tens of thousands of Sadr supporters pack Iraqi capital

  • Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, tens of thousands gathered shoulder-to-shoulder for noon Muslim prayers in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square
  • The Sadrist movement had called for protests to back the reform of what it says is Iraq’s corrupt state

BAGHDAD: Tens of thousands of supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr packed the streets of the Iraqi capital Friday in a show of force as preparations ramp up for June parliamentary elections.
Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, tens of thousands gathered shoulder-to-shoulder for noon Muslim prayers in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, spilling out into the surrounding streets.
The Sadrist movement had called for protests to back the reform of what it says is Iraq’s corrupt state, but its populist leader has also been making moves ahead of next year’s vote.
In a tweet this week, Sadr said he expected major wins for his party and would push for the next prime minister to be a member of the Sadrist movement for the first time.
Sadrists had already won big in the May 2018 vote with 54 of parliament’s 329 seats, granting him the biggest single bloc.
This summer, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi set June 2021 as the date for the next parliamentary elections — nearly a year ahead of schedule to fulfil a key demand of the youth-dominated protest movement that erupted across Iraq in October 2019.
They will take place under a new electoral law agreed by parliament that will see district sizes reduced and votes for individual candidates replacing list-based ballots.
Most observers expect a delay of at least a few months while political parties prepare the groundwork of their campaigns, but experts say the new system is likely to benefit Sadr and his candidates.
On Friday, Sadr supporters carried Iraq’s national tricolor and posters of the cleric, some of which evoked his past as a militia leader by depicting him in camouflage.
Volunteers dressed in light blue — the movement’s color — sprayed disinfectant from plastic tanks on their backs.
Sadr, who is very rarely seen in public, did not attend the rally.