Seven women who were strip-searched and forced to undergo invasive gynaecological examinations at Doha airport are planning to sue Qatar’s government, their lawyer has said.

Their ordeals came after an abandoned newborn baby was found in a bin at the airport last year.

The women, from Australia, were subjected to the examinations at Hamad International Airport on 2 October 2020, after Qatar Airways Flight 908 to Sydney was delayed.

At the time, Australia’s government condemned the Qatari authorities’ treatment of women.

Lawyer Damian Sturzaker, from Sydney-based Marque Lawyers, said the seven women were among 13 on the flight who were “invasively examined” on the tarmac.

“They have problems dealing with what was a very traumatic episode,” he said.

Around 10 other flights out of Doha were also delayed while female passengers were searched, he added, but he was not aware of passengers on other planes taking legal action.

Qatar’s government has offered its “sincerest apology” for the incident and said “those responsible for these violations and illegal actions” had been referred to prosecutors.

The complainants were informed last week that a single airport police officer had been fined and given a six-month suspended prison sentence for enforcing the examinations, Mr Sturzaker said.

But the women also want assurances that “procedures are put in place so that this won’t happen again”, he added.

The women, aged between their early 30s and late 50s, will likely initiate legal action in the New South Wales state Supreme Court within a few weeks.

They have not specified the amount of compensation that they are seeking.

The Qatar government, as well as the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and state-owned airline and airport, have been forwarded legal advice that the Australian courts had jurisdiction to hear the case and the claimants were likely to win, Mr Sturzaker said.

The Qatar government has said it is considering the women’s claim, Mr Sturzaker said, while the airline has denied liability.

“We don’t hold out much hope in relation to anything other than a rejection of the claim,” Mr Sturzaker said, suggesting the claim would go to trial.

Source: Read Full Article