Autumn Klein, DCNF
Qatar issued an apology for subjecting over a dozen women to strip searches and physical examinations after discovering an abandoned baby in the trash of an airport bathroom Wednesday, the New York Times reported.
A flight from Qatar to Sydney, Australia, was delayed Oct. 2 after the discovery of a newborn baby wrapped in plastic at the bottom of an airport bathroom, the Associated Press reported. Following this revelation, airport officials began searching for the parents. The Qatari government said they began an immediate search in hopes of preventing “the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping,” per the Associated Press.
The female passengers were forced off of the plane and nearly all were subjected to a strip search and physical examination in an ambulance on the tarmac, Fox News reported. Some were forced to take off their underwear and undergo an “invasive exam” in hopes of determining whether they had recently undergone childbirth, according to the New York Times.
Let's discuss the crazy Qatar story. 1: You shouldn't cross borders into draconian, authoritarian systems and expect nothing can happen; it can. 2: You shouldn't strip search a bunch of innocent passengers and expect to remain a cosmopolitan, luxury airport hub; you can't.
— Megan K. Stack (@Megankstack) October 27, 2020
Only one passenger, Kim Mills, was spared from these searches. “I was the luckiest one on the whole flight because I have grey hair and I’m in my 60s. They probably looked at me and thought well, that’s impossible, it could not be her,” Mills said, according to The Guardian.
“I just think of the poor young girls. I don’t know why they had to put them through that,” Mills told The Guardian Australia.
No explanation was afforded to the passengers after the fact, according to the Associated Press. After landing in Sydney, the women reported the incident to authorities, per the New York Times.
The State of Qatar said in a statement they “regret any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action,” according to the New York Times.
Marise Paye, the Australian foreign affairs minister, described the situation as a “grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events,” The Guardian reported.
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