Australian women’s lawsuit over invasive searches at Doha Airport dismissed

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An Australian federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Qatar Airways over an incident involving invasive medical examinations of female passengers at Doha Airport in October 2020. The decision comes after 13 Australian women were subjected to physical examinations by Qatari security services following the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby in a bathroom at the airport.

The women were removed from their Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney and underwent intrusive searches in ambulances on the airport tarmac. Despite the distressing nature of the incident, Justice John Halley ruled that Qatar Airways should not face trial over the matter, stating that the airline had no control over the actions of the Qatari Ministry of Interior (MOI) officials conducting the search.

However, the judge allowed the women to pursue claims against MATAR, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways that operates Doha airport. The decision to dismiss the case against Qatar Airways has been met with disappointment by the women and their legal representatives.

Damian Sturzaker, a lawyer representing the women, expressed his clients’ resolve to continue seeking accountability. Sturzaker stated that they are reviewing the decision and considering an appeal, emphasizing their determination to stand up against the State of Qatar.

The incident at Doha Airport sparked outrage in Australia and internationally, with the actions of the Qatari authorities likened to sexual assault. Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the incident as “appalling” and “unacceptable,” while the government of Qatar issued an apology for any distress caused to travelers.

“Gross violation of their rights”: Australian women invasively strip-searched at Doha Airport, Qatar after newborn was found

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