Following the discovery of an abandoned baby at Doha airport, officials smeared passengers disembarking from several planes.
Posted today at 6:15 am
Passengers were forcibly subjected to extensive body examinations after the discovery of a premature newborn abandoned in the toilets of the international airport in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
The airport simply said that women had been asked to “participate” in requests to locate the mother of the baby, who is still alive, according to a statement.
The women, whose number was not specified, were disembarked from several planes and taken to ambulances where they underwent examinations to find out whether they had recently given birth.
Qatar practices Islamic law which severely punishes women who become pregnant outside marriage.
“(Officials) were forcing women to undergo body exams, essentially forced Papanicolaou tests (smears, ed),” a source in Doha told AFP on Sunday who was informed of an internal investigation into the ‘incident.
Australians and apparently a French woman were the object of these forced examinations.
Doha International Airport reported that “medical staff had expressed concerns to airport officials over the health and well-being of a mother who had just given birth and asked to be located before she left. don’t go ”.
“Individuals who had access to the area of the airport where the newborn was found were invited to participate in the search,” added the airport authorities without specifying what had been asked of the women questioned or their number.
The facts, reported by Australian television station Seven News, occurred on October 2 and were revealed by Australian passengers. Due to the incident, one of the flights, Qatar Airways’ QR908 to Sydney, was four hours late, according to monitoring site Flight Radar 24.
Women from other countries and other flights have undergone similar examinations. An investigation is underway in Qatar, according to Seven News. Doha Airport called on Sunday for the baby’s mother to come forward, suggesting the exams had been for naught.
“The newborn remains unidentified, but it is in good health in the hands of medical and social workers,” the airport said, calling on anyone with information about the mother to share it.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Seven News that it had “officially communicated to the authorities” in Qatar its “serious concerns about the incident”. He added that he had “received assurances that detailed and transparent information on the event would soon be provided” by Qatar.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Monday expressed Australia’s disapproval in very strong terms.
“This is an extremely, extremely disturbing, shocking, worrying chain of events,” said Marise Payne. “We have expressed our concerns very clearly to the Qatari authorities,” she said, adding that the Australian Federal Police had been seized of the matter.
According to the Australian minister, a report from the Qatari authorities on this incident is “imminent”. Marise Payne admitted that Australian officials were briefed by passengers “at the time of the flight” to Sydney which was delayed.
“State of shock”
An Australian lawyer from Sydney, Wolfgang Babeck, who was a passenger on one of the affected flights, told AFP that the women subjected to the examinations had returned to the plane “in a state of shock”, after having had to undress and strip the lower part of their body to be examined by a female doctor.
“They were all upset, some were angry, one was crying, and no one could believe what had just happened,” said Wolfgang Babeck, who believes the incident could constitute “a violation of international law”.
Asked Sunday, the company Qatar Airways did not comment.
Posted today at 6:15 am
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