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

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

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.


Egypt seeks to free citizens kidnapped by pirates off Nigerian coast

Updated 8 min 47 sec ago

Egypt seeks to free citizens kidnapped by pirates off Nigerian coast

Egypt seeks to free citizens kidnapped by pirates off Nigerian coast
  • Maria Samir, Samir’s sister, said her brother was last contacted as he was about to move from Nigeria to Cameroon

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said it was coordinating with Nigerian authorities to free two of its citizens after they were kidnapped by pirates.

According to media reports, Saad Shawky and Kyrolos Samir were taken while they were on board a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria’s southernmost state of Bayelsa.

There are also three Lebanese, four Indians and a Cameroonian in the crew.

The ministry said it had contacted the Egyptian consulate in Abuja about the circumstances and with the latest updates, and that instructions had been issued “to communicate with all officials at the highest level to follow up on ensuring the safety of kidnapped Egyptians.”

Egyptian media reported the two men were on board a Lebanese cargo ship called “Milan-1” that was heading from Nigeria to Cameroon. They also said the ship was owned by a Lebanese national, Adnan El-Kot.

El-Kot said in statements that he had rented the ship to a man called Tavo Lawrence and that the vessel was raising the flag of Saint Kitts. He learned about the kidnapping last Thursday, receiving a call from a Thuraya mobile phone from the pirates who demanded a $1.5 million ransom to release the ship.

The ransom dropped to $300,000, and El-Kot explained that he had told the kidnappers that the ship had been rented to another person living in Nigeria after he made sure all the ship crew were safe.

Maria Samir, Samir’s sister, said her brother was last contacted as he was about to move from Nigeria to Cameroon.

She said in an interview that contact with him was lost a few hours after he moved from Nigeria, adding that it naturally happened due to being in the open seas. She was following up the ship’s route through an app that revealed the vessel had stopped in the middle of the sea and did not move.

She said her brother graduated from university a year ago and that it was his first job for six months. She added he was working on a ship on the Red Sea route and moved to work on board “Milan-1.”

Sherouk Shawky, who is Shawky’s sister, said: “My brother and his colleague Kyrolos Samir have been working together onboard the ship for two years and a half.”

She said her brother left Nigeria en route to Cameroon and they had last contacted each other last Wednesday.

She added: “By Saturday, as he didn't contact us, we became extremely worried about him since the route from Nigeria to Cameroon is only two days. So we contacted Adnan El-Kot, the ship owner, who told us that pirates from Nigeria kidnapped the ship's 10-member crew, which includes officers, engineers and cooks. He said the pirates kidnapped 10 crew members and left one to inform Adnan of the kidnapping.”