Police face 3-year sentences over invasive searches

Cheryl Sanders
November 24, 2020

The physical examinations of Qatar Airways passengers bound for Sydney and nine other destinations triggered outrage in Australia.

The woman apparently flew out of the country before the baby was discovered.

Meanwhile, public prosecutors in Qatar announced that they had filed criminal charges against a number of employees working in the airport security department.

Doha airport officers who ordered forced internal medical exams of female passengers after an abandoned newborn was discovered in a rubbish bin face possible three-year prison sentences.

The mother identified only as of "Asian nationality" could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the statement said.

Both parents were only identified by the prosecutor as of "Asian nationality".

Despite the several updates that the Public Prosecution office disclosed, there was no mention of when the investigation is going to be concluded and when its findings will be made public as promised by the government a few weeks ago.

The prosecutor also said it had identified and charged the baby's mother, who has left the country, with attempted murder and has started legal proceedings to arrest "the fugitive".

Following the investigation, authorities in Qatar found a father of an abandoned newborn.

The mother of the abandoned child had messaged the father telling him she had just given birth and that she was abandoning the child and leaving the country, the prosecutor said.

All expatriates coming to Qatar for long-term work are required to give a substantial sample of blood during the registration process.

The incident made global headlines after 13 Australian women came forward and said they were forced to undergo invasive examinations at the Hamad worldwide Airport after the baby was found.

In Qatar, like much of the Middle East, sex and childbirth outside of marriage are criminalized.

The women said they were given no information by officials and that they did not have an opportunity to provide informed consent.

The public prosecutor did not say what crimes had been committed, how many police officers had been charged or detail the penalties they faced, such as imprisonment, if convicted.

Qatar, a small, energy-rich state on the Arabian Peninsula, will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, who as interior minister is also responsible for the security services, previously tweeted that "we regret the unacceptable treatment of the female passengers" at Doha airport.

Other reports by iNewsToday