Qatar Airways strip search controversy: More Australian women subjected to ‘grossly disturbing’ examinations



Several Australian women were taken off a Qatar Airways flight and subjected to invasive medical examinations following the discovery of a baby in an airport bathroom. Photo / File

It’s been revealed that more Australian women than first reported were subjected to invasive strip searches at Doha airport.

Eighteen women on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Sydney were subjected to the “grossly disturbing” physical examinations.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne gave the updated figure during a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

Senator Payne also revealed that passengers on 10 aircraft in Doha that day were subjected to the search, after a premature baby was found in a bathroom at the airport.

A Department of Foreign Affairs official, who was among women affected but not searched, was the first to raise the alarm with Australian authorities shortly after the incident occurred on October 2.

Officials are seeking to clarify the number of Australian women that were physically examined.

Payne on Monday said it was a “grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events”.

“We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities on this matter,” she said.

Labor Senator Penny Wong grilled the minister over her communication with Qatari authorities, including her counterpart.


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