Mea culpa from Qatar for forced gynecological exams at Doha airport

At least 18 women went through the traumatic experience after the discovery of a newborn baby in the toilets at the airport.

An apology to avoid a diplomatic fire. The government of Qatar made its mea culpa Wednesday, October 28 for the forced gynecological examinations undergone by several women at the airport in Doha after the discovery of an abandoned newborn, saying it regrets the violation of individual freedoms and the distress inflicted on these travelers.

“Even if the aim of these urgently-decided examinations was to prevent the escape of the perpetrators of a horrible crime, the State of Qatar regrets the distress or the violation of individual freedoms that this action may have caused to travelers. “, indicates a statement published on a government site.

On October 2, agents at Doha Airport disembarked female passengers from a flight to Sydney, then forcing them to undergo gynecological examinations to try to determine if any of them had. recently gave birth, after the discovery of a newborn baby abandoned in the toilets of the terminal.

Australian authorities later said they learned that several other flights were also affected. Qatari Prime Minister Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in a statement that an investigation “complete and transparent” will be conducted. He added that Qatar was “committed to ensuring the safety and comfort of all passengers passing through the country”. The incident sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and Doha, with Canberra firmly protesting the treatment of its female citizens.

On Wednesday, it emerged that the number of affected planes was greater than initially assumed. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told Parliament that women in “aboard ten planes in total” had been subjected to forced gynecological examinations, a situation she described as “seriously disturbing” and “rude”. “We found out yesterday” by the Australian diplomatic mission in Doha, affirmed Marise Payne.

She added that 18 women, including thirteen Australians, were affected and others “Foreign nationals”. According to AFP information, a French woman aboard one of these planes is among the victims. The Australian minister did not provide the destinations of the other flights concerned. Australian officials have said Canberra is working with other countries to jointly voice their concern over the abuses. But they refused to name these countries to respect the privacy of victims.

Marise Payne admitted that she had not spoken to her Qatari counterpart, adding that she wanted to “see the report” on the incident beforehand, due within the week. In Qatar, officially, sexual relations and childbirth outside marriage are punishable by prison terms. The conservative Muslim monarchy still struggles to silence criticism of violations of rights and freedoms.

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