News World Qatar airport police face possible jail for strip searches of female passengers

Qatar airport police face possible jail for strip searches of female passengers

The strip-search incident in Doha was reported to the Australian Federal Police. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Qatar airport police who internally examined female airline passengers after finding abandoned newborn could face three years in jail.

Prosecutors did not say how many police officers at Hamad International Airport faced charges over the October 2 incident that sparked widespread anger in Australia, a key destination for the state-owned Qatar Airways.

“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.

Meanwhile, overseas media have reported that authorities have identified the mother of the baby girl, who was found in an airport rubbish bin, and charged her with attempted murder.

Qatar public prosecutions reportedly released a statement saying: “Investigations revealed that the infant’s mother… threw the newborn infant in the trash can in one of the toilets in the departures lounge at the airport and boarded the plane to her destination.”

The abandoned newborn’s mother, whom the statement described as a “convict”, also faces up to 15 years in prison if apprehended.

The woman apparently flew out of the country before the baby was discovered. Qatari authorities say they have started the process of trying to arrest her.

Prosecutors said DNA helped them identify her and the baby’s father.

The physical examinations of passengers bound for Sydney and nine other unnamed destinations triggered outrage in Australia.

The government denounced the searches as inappropriate and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent.

Rights activists say such exams conducted under duress amount to sexual assault.

-with AAP