All female passengers on board a Qatar Airways flight to Australia were removed from the plane and forced to undergo vaginal exams after a newborn was found in a toilet at the airport in the capital Doha, according to reports.
The women, including 13 Australians, were retrieved from a Sydney-linked plane on October 2 at Hamad International Airport, where the newborn was found abandoned, news.com.au reported.
The shocked passengers were searched with tapes and subjected to “invasive” exams, which led Australia to complain about the “extremely disturbing” incident with Qatar, according to the BBC.
Two women from flight QR908 told the Australian ABC that they had no idea what happened when they were picked up after a three-hour delay, which they said was not reported due to the baby̵
“No one speaks English or tells us what’s going on. It was horrible, “said one woman, who asked not to be named.
“We were 13 and they all made us leave. A mother near me had left her sleeping children on the plane, “she said. “There was an elderly woman with impaired vision and she also had to go. I’m sure she was searched. “
The woman added that while respecting the country’s laws and culture, she is considering legal action.
“If the other 12 women came out with a collective action, I would definitely be a part of it,” she told ABC.
The other passenger said she was with a group of several other women who began to panic when they learned they had been taken out of the airport.
“When I went in, there was a lady in a mask, and then the authorities closed the ambulance behind me and locked her up,” she said.
“They never explained anything. She told me to take off my pants and to examine my vagina, “the woman told ABC. I said, “I’m not doing this,” and she didn’t explain anything to me. She just kept saying, “We have to see it, we have to see it.”
The woman said she took off her clothes and was touched by the female nurse who inspected her.
“I panicked. “Everyone was white and shaking,” she said. “I was very scared at that moment, I didn’t know what the possibilities were.”
She said she jumped out of the ambulance and then ran to the other girls. I had nowhere to run. ”
Kim Mills, who was among the women taken off the flight, told the Guardian Australia that she saw a young woman get out of the ambulance “crying and discouraged”.
“I just turned around and started walking with her, trying to comfort her. I said, “What’s wrong, what’s going on?” And she told me they found a baby in the airport bathroom and were examining all the women, “Mills said.
“I was the luckiest in the whole flight because I have white hair and I’m 60 years old. They probably looked at me and thought, “Well, that’s impossible, it can’t be her.”
By the time the women were allowed to board the plane again, Mills said her “legs were just swaying.”
“I was so happy to be back on the plane because I was terrified that they would take me somewhere … Why didn’t they explain to us what was going on?” “It was awful for me not to know that this was one of the worst parts of him,” she told the Guardian.
Mills added that the cabin crew members were “absolutely terrified.”
“[The head steward] “The captain and the pilot didn’t even know why we were detained and what was going on,” she said, adding that the cashier apologized on behalf of the captain and crew when they landed in Sydney.
Australian Foreign Minister Maris Payne said that “the very disturbing, insulting, in relation to many events” was attributed to the federal authorities in her country.
“It’s not something I’ve ever heard happen in my life, in any context,” she said. “We have made clear our views to the Qatari authorities on this issue.”
A statement from the airport said the baby was “safe” and being cared for in Qatar – and that medical professionals “expressed concern to staff about the health and well-being of the mother who had just given birth and asked that she be placed before departure. “
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese called the incident “completely unacceptable,” according to ABC.
“The government has a connection to Qatar, the government is able to regulate a number of activities and I would think it needs something other than strong words,” he said.
New South Wales police said the women received medical and psychological support while in quarantine at a Sydney hotel.
Amnesty International called the episode “disturbing and disturbing and a gross violation of the human rights of these women,” news.com.au reported.
“An in-depth and independent investigation must be carried out and all those involved must be held accountable,” Amnesty International Australia director Samantha Clintworth told 7 News.
Mills called the incident “absolutely terrible.”
“I can’t imagine what it was like for those poor young girls, it must have been awful. “I’m a mother of three daughters, and when I got back on the plane and thought about it and thought about it, I’m so glad it wasn’t one of my girls,” she told the Guardian.
“I only think of the poor young girls. I don’t know why they had to go through them, I really don’t. “
The mail contacted Qatar Airways for comment.