Qatar airport police officers charged over invasive searches of women

Qatar says identified parents of dumped baby in airport scandal

Qatar says identified parents of dumped baby in airport scandal

Australia sounded the alarm on the incident after 13 of their citizens across 10 Qatar Airways flights contacted authorities upon their return.

During investigation, several women on board a Sydney-bound Qatar Airways flight said they were ordered to disembark, taken to ambulances on the tarmac, and told to remove their underwear for an examination.

Qatari prosecutors said an investigation had found some security officers "acted unilaterally by summoning female medical staff to conduct external examination to some female passengers, thinking that what they had done was within the law".

In the statement on November 23, 2020, the public prosecution's office added that they filed criminal charges against police officers who were allegedly responsible for carrying invasive examinations of female passengers.

The prosecutor added that global efforts are under way to arrest "the fugitive convict" who faces "a maximum penalty of 15 years".

Qatar said Monday it had identified the parents of the abandoned baby girl.

"The Australian government acknowledges the information provided by Qatar, and the finding of the public prosecutor that the boundaries of legal authority were exceeded", the spokesman said.

Prosecutors said that officials had also been charged over the invasive exams carried out on women passengers including citizens of Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand who were on board a Sydney-bound Qatar Airways flight.

The mother of the abandoned child had messaged the father telling him she had just given birth and that she was abandoning the child and leaving the country, the prosecutor said.

In Qatar, like much of the Middle East, sex and childbirth outside of marriage are criminalized.

The Australian Government denounced the searches as inappropriate and said the women could not give free and informed consent.

The public prosecutor did not say what crimes had been committed, or how many police officers had been charged.

The news came in an update by Qatar's Public Prosecution office on Monday regarding the horrific incident that took place at the Hamad International Airport (HIA) which involved the attempted murder of a newborn infant last month.

Rights activists have said exams conducted under duress amount to sexual assault.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, who as interior minister is also responsible for the security services, previously tweeted that "we regret the unacceptable treatment of the female passengers" at Doha airport.

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