13 Aussie women stripped in plane horror


WARNING: Distressing details

A horrific story is emerging from a Sydney-bound Qatar Airways flight, in which multiple Australian women were dragged off and subjected to invasive medical examinations following the discovery of a baby in an airport bathroom.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has expressed its "serious concerns" with Qatari authorities after the shocking incident, which has been blasted by one senator as "totally outrageous".

The QR 908 flight was en route to Sydney earlier this month when it landed for a transit stop at the Hamad International Airport in Doha in Qatar.

A premature baby was found alive and abandoned in a bathroom at the terminal.

7 News reported that women at the airport, including 13 Australians, were pulled off flights and forced to undergo "invasive" medical examinations in that time.

Qatari authorities forced the women to remove their underwear in an ambulance on the airport tarmac.

The women then had their genitalia "invasively examined" without their consent and without being told the reason why.

An airport spokesman told 7 News that the child is being cared for by medical and social workers.

Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said the incident was "totally outrageous".

"It is a complete abrogation of responsibility and personal privacy," she told the Today show this morning. "These women did not deserve to be going through this.

"I certainly know that Labor is very supportive. It's behind the Australian Government. Expressing the highest level our complete and utter outrage at this obscene handling of any woman to be able to go through this invasion of privacy.

"Naturally, it's an incredibly tragic situation when any person loses a child. But to then just drag every single woman that you can possibly see and say OK we'll do this to you and they don't know what is going on.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said the incident was “totally outrageous”. Picture: Che Chorley
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said the incident was “totally outrageous”. Picture: Che Chorley

"All of that is just outrageous. I certainly wouldn't want it to happen to me. I'm sure you wouldn't want it to happen to you wouldn't want it to happen to you. No woman anywhere would want this to happen without their express permission at all."

Labor Joel Fitzgibbon MP said if the incident was found to be true it "effectively amounts to state sanctioned sexual assault".

"As a father, my first thought was what if this was one of my daughters," he said.

"We should all be very concerned and the government here in Australia should be most robust in its response."

Nationals MP Joyce said it was "outrageous to think that so many ladies went through that sort of humiliation".

"What authority did they think they had the capacity to do that? What on earth were they hoping to achieve?" he said on Sunrise.

Amnesty International called the incident "distressing, and disturbing, and a gross violation of these women's human rights".

"There needs to be a thorough and independent investigation and all of those involved need to be held to account," Amnesty International Australia director Samantha Klintworth told 7 News.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has "serious concerns" with Qatari authorities over the incident.

"The Australian Government is aware of concerning reports regarding the treatment of female passengers, including Australian citizens, at Doha (Hamad) airport in Qatar," a spokesman said.

"We have formally registered our serious concerns regarding the incident with Qatari authorities and have been assured that detailed and transparent information on the event will be provided soon."



Originally published as 13 Aussie women stripped in plane horror