Horror airline strip-search scandal worsens


18 women physically searched on Qatar flight from Doha to Sydney

It’s been revealed that more women than first reported were subjected to invasive strip searches at Doha airport.

Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong has demanded the Morrison government take concrete action after 13…

The Qatar Government has revealed a newborn infant at the centre of the Doha airport strip search scandal was found in plastic bag and “buried under garbage” in a trash can.

In a statement released on Wednesday the government says the baby girl was rescued from “what appeared to be a shocking and appalling attempt to kill her”.

The infant is now safe under medical care in Doha.

“This egregious and life-threatening violation of the law triggered an immediate search for the parents, including on flights in the vicinity of where the newborn was found,” the statement reads.

“ While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action.”

Eighteen women on a Qatar flight from Doha to Sydney were subjected to “grossly disturbing” physical examinations after the baby was found.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne gave the updated figure during a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

Senator Payne also revealed that passengers on 10 aircraft in Doha that day were subjected to the search, after a premature baby was found in a bathroom at the airport.

A Department of Foreign Affairs official, who was among women affected but not searched, was the first to raise the alarm with Australian authorities shortly after the incident occurred on October 2.

It has now been revealed 18 women were strip searched.

Officials are seeking to clarify the number of Australia women that were physically examined after it was this week revealed to be 13.

Senator Payne on Monday said it was a “grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events”.

“We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities on this matter,” she said.

Labor Senator Penny Wong grilled the minister over her communication with Qatari authorities, including her counterpart.


Senator Marise Payne said what happened was ‘grossly disturbing’.

“I did not speak to the Qatari foreign minister,” Senator Payne said.

“I advised the head of mission in Doha that we would await the report because we had been given a commitment from the Qatari government that that would be provided.

“I will speak to the foreign minister on receipt of the report.”

DFAT secretary Frances Adamson defended Senator Payne saying it had engaged multiple times with the airline, airport and the ministry of foreign affairs.

“It was intensive engagement since the very first moment we knew about this,” Ms Adamson said.



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