Daily US Times: Australia has raised “grossly disturbing” reports with Qatar that women were strip-searched and examined at Hamad International Airport before a flight from Doha to Sydney.
The incident happened after staff found a newborn baby in the airport terminal toilet.
The baby is being cared for but remains unidentified.
Witnesses told Australian media that passengers had boarded the flight before women were told to get off.
The report said thirteen Australian women were taken to an ambulance placed on the tarmac and told to remove their underwear before being examined.
Kim Mills, one of the passengers, told the Guardian that she was among those taken off the flight and led into a dark car park, where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations. Australia described the incident as “grossly disturbing”.
However, she suspected that officials did not subject her to the examination due, to being in her 60s.
Even so, the experience was horrifying, she said.
She said: “My legs were just wobbling. I was terrified they were going to take me away somewhere. Why didn’t they explain to us what was going on?”, adding that airplane staff later told her they didn’t know what was happening.
“It was absolutely terrible. I can’t imagine what it was like for those poor young girls.”
Wolfgang Babeck, another passenger, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he watched as the women re-boarded the flight, noting “many… were upset, one of them was in tears – a younger woman”.
The incident occurred on 2 October but Qatar’s government is yet to respond.
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