News Qatar officials say mother of abandoned baby was a ‘convict’ who fled the country

Qatar officials say mother of abandoned baby was a ‘convict’ who fled the country

qatar airport baby girl
Prosecutors also confirm Qatar airport officers who ordered strip searches face three-year prison sentences after being charged.
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Prosecutors in Qatar say they have identified the mother of a newborn baby abandoned in an airport bathroom last month.

The mother has been described as an “Asian national” and a “convict”, who fled the country after allegedly giving birth and dumping her newborn in a rubbish bin in an airport bathroom.

She has been charged with attempted murder and authorities say they have started the process of trying to arrest her.

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

The incident made international headlines after 13 Australian women came forward and said they were forced to undergo invasive examinations at the Hamad International Airport after the baby was found.

The police officers who ordered the women off their flights and oversaw the examinations have been charged, Qatar’s public prosecutor said.

They acted unilaterally and face “penalties of a maximum of three years,” it said.

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

“Extensive investigations revealed that some employees of the Airport Security Department 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,” a statement from prosecutors said.

Australian Ffranses Ingram describes how Qatari officials ordered her and other women off a flight for an invasive examination.
The Australian Government denounced the searches as inappropriate and said the women could not give free and informed consent.

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

Police said they had also identified the father of the newborn through DNA testing.

The mother allegedly texted him to say she was abandoning the child before she left the country.

The father has been charged but the public prosecutor did not give any details.

The mother’s whereabouts remain unclear.

Abandoned babies “are not uncommon” in Qatar because of the country’s strict laws restricting the actions of unmarried women, said Rothna Begum, a women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“It does happen largely because of the criminalisation of sexual relations outside of wedlock, which disproportionately impacts migrant women,” she told the ABC.