Doha International Airport on January 24, 2020 in Qatar.
STR / AFP
In Qatar, several passengers, including Australians and a French woman, had to undergo a forced gynecological examination after the discovery of a premature newborn in the toilets of the Doha international airport.
Facts condemned by Australia.
A number of women, mostly Australians, were disembarked from several planes and taken to ambulances where they underwent tests to determine if they had recently given birth.
The facts, reported by Australian television station Seven News, occurred on October 2 and were revealed by Australian passengers.
Women "upset and angry"
A source in Doha briefed on an internal investigation told AFP on Sunday that officials "had forced women to undergo invasive body examinations, mostly forced Pap smears."
Qatar applies Islamic law which severely punishes women who become pregnant out of wedlock.
An Australian lawyer from Sydney, Wolfgang Babeck, a passenger on one of the affected flights, told AFP that the women subjected to the examinations had returned to their plane "in a state of shock" after having had to strip the part lower body to be examined by a female doctor.
"They were all upset, some were angry, one was crying, and no one could believe what had just happened," said Wolfgang Babeck, who believes the incident could constitute "a violation of international law".
In addition to Australian female passengers, a French female passenger was also affected, according to an official.
Doha still looking for the mother
Doha Airport reported that "medical staff had expressed concerns to airport officials about the health and well-being of a mother who had just given birth and asked to be located before she was born. leave ”.
"Individuals who had access to the area of the airport where the newborn was found were invited to participate in the search," added the airport authorities, without specifying what had been asked of the women questioned or their number.
As a result of the incident, one of the affected flights, Qatar Airways' QR908 to Sydney, was four hours late, according to Flight Radar 24. Women from other countries and other flights have been delayed. underwent similar examinations.
An investigation is underway in Qatar, according to Seven News.
Doha Airport called on Sunday for the baby's mother to come forward, suggesting the exams had been for naught.
"The newborn remains unidentified, but is in good health in the hands of medical and social workers," the airport said, calling on anyone with information about the mother to share it.
Qatar warned Australia
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne spoke very strongly of Australia's disapproval on Monday.
“This is an extremely, extremely disturbing, shocking, worrying chain of events.
I have never heard of such a thing in my life, ”she said.
"We have expressed our concerns very clearly to the Qatari authorities," she said, adding that the Australian Federal Police had been seized of the matter.
According to the minister, the publication of a report by the Qatari authorities on this incident is "imminent".
Marise Payne admitted that Australian officials were briefed by passengers shortly after a flight to Sydney was blocked.
Asked, the company Qatar Airways did not comment on Sunday.
Coronavirus: In Qatar, those who do not wear a mask risk three years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros
Indonesia: baby's body found in plane