Qatar Airways sued by 5 women over invasive searches

LONDON: Five Australian women who were forced to undergo intimate medical examinations and searches at Doha Airport have sued Qatar Airways for assault and battery, according to reports on Friday.

Women were forcibly removed by armed guards from several aircraft at the Qatari airport on Oct. 2 in 2020 as officials searched for the mother of a newborn baby abandoned in a toilet at the terminal.

Some of the women claim they were forced to undergo “non-consensual gynaecological or intimate examinations” and were subjected to “unlawful physical contact,” The Guardian reported.

Of 18 Australian women subjected to the examinations, five are taking action to the New South Wales Supreme Court, having failed to win compensation from the Qatari government by other means.

“Each of the applications has suffered … from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders and other psychological effects,” a statement read.

The women incurred medical expenses, and some “suffered economic loss as a result of needing to take medical leave from work due to the effects of the events on … mental health,” it added.

Papers were served to Qatar Airways at its Melbourne offices on Thursday, but the airline has declined to comment.

The women were not contacted by the airline or the Qatari government since the incident that sparked international outrage.

However, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani admitted that standard security protocols were not followed, and expressed his “sincerest apology for what some female travelers went through.”

He added: “We regret the unacceptable treatment of the female passengers.”

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