Middle East

Australia presses Qatar for report into women’s ordeal at Doha airport

Qatar has not provided the Australian government with its report into the alleged non-consensual intimate medical examination of 18 women on a flight bound for Sydney last year.

The women were taken off a plane and subject to medical examinations, in some cases internal examinations, to determine if they were the mother of a newborn baby found dumped in the terminal. They described the experience as absolutely terrifying.

The Qatari government apologised to the women after the incident was made public in late October, saying airport security staff had violated standard procedures and those responsible would be prosecuted.

It said it was conducting an investigation and would share the findings of the final report “in the very near future”.

On Wednesday the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the report had not been received, three months later.

“We are disappointed that the government of Qatar has so far not provided the Australian government with a report into the incident at Hamad International Airport,” Dfat said. “Dfat continues to engage regularly with Qatari authorities to seek updates on this matter.”

Legal proceedings against the airport staff alleged to be responsible are under way in Qatar this month.

In October Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, said the treatment of the women, who included 13 Australian citizens, had been “unacceptable”.

“I assure you that we will hold those responsible for these acts to account,” he tweeted. “What took place does not represent Qatar’s laws or values. We will undertake all measures to prevent a recurrence.”

The Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Sydney on 2 October was only one of 10 flights caught up in the incident but to date none of the other flights have been publicly identified.

A number of the affected women told Guardian Australia in November that they had not been contacted by Qatar Airways or the Qatari government.

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