Qatar tests gynaecological passengers before flight

The discovery of a newborn baby prompted Qatari authorities to conduct a gynaecological examination of 13 Australian women flying with Qatar Airways
Marine Payne Australia

AP/LUKAS COCH  -   The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marine Payne

On October 2nd, a newborn baby appeared at Hamad International Airport in Qatar. The protocol of the airport authorities was to delay the flights and gynecologically inspect all women in the vicinity to identify the mother. 

Flight QR 908 to Sydney was scheduled for the same day, but was delayed for more than four hours after authorities stopped the flight to carry out a gynecological examination of the women on the flight. Many of the women tried to refuse and were traumatized, thirteen of the passengers were Australian.

Australia on Monday confirmed its protest to the government of Qatar over the "offensive treatment given to a group of women who were subjected to gynecological examinations before boarding a plane to Sydney," the government statement said.

Australian TV Channel 7 reported Sunday that the women, including 13 Australians, were arrested and taken to an ambulance parked on the track. There they were forced to remove their underwear to allegedly undergo gynaecological examinations without their consent and without being informed of the discovery of the newborn. 

The Gulf Post confirms these reports, adding that Wolfgang Babeck,  a doctor aboard flight QR 908, told local network ABC on Monday that the women were visibly disturbed when they returned to their seats. “Many, probably all of them, were upset, one of them, a young woman, was crying,” Babeck described.  Dr. Wolfgang Babeck clarified that " they were discussing what had happened and saying that it was unacceptable and disgusting".

Apparently, during the hold, they were presented to a female doctor and they were basically strip searched and had to take everything downwards off, all their clothes, even their underwear", added the Gulf Post Office. "Then the doctor would try to feel in the uterus and stomach area or lower abdomen to see whether they may have given birth recently", as reported by the affected women to the Australian media.  

They had found a baby in the bathroom and were trying to find out who the mother was. In addition to the 13 Australian women on board Qatar Airways to Sydney other flights were also affected. 

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said her country’s government has “dealt directly with the Qatari authorities” about this “set of incidents, very disturbing, offensive and worrying. “

Minister Payne also clarified that she is waiting for the research results carried out by both the Qatari and Australian authorities on the events denounced, without giving details on the number of female passengers affected or the age range, nor on the type of medical examinations they were subjected to.

The Qatari airport confirmed that the baby is safe and under the care of doctors and social workers, while the mother has not been identified and his whereabouts are unknown, as quoted by the ABC.