Late last year, women on ten Qatar Airways flights from Doha, including 13 Australians, were subjected to the screenings as officials looked for the mother of a newborn discovered to been abandoned in an airport washroom.
Women to File a Lawsuit against Qatar Airways
According to their lawyer, a group of women who were subjected to invasive gynecological searches at Doha airport will sue the Qatari authorities, demanding retribution for an incident that drew international outrage.
The incident sparked controversy and raised serious concerns about Qatar’s treatment of women as the Gulf country prepares to host tens of thousands of international tourists for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Seven aggrieved passengers are planning legal action, according to Damian Sturzaker of Sydney-based Marque Lawyers, to “send a message to Qatari authorities that you can’t treat women… in this manner.”
He told AFP,
“The group of women have suffered enormous distress on the evening concerned, now just over a year ago, and they continue to suffer distress and ill effects and trauma as a result of what occurred.”
The women are demanding proper apology, compensation, and security for future travelers passing through the airport, as per Sturzaker.
The government has battled to persuade skeptics that its claims on women’s rights, labor relations, and democracy are legitimate in the run-up to the World Cup.
Faced with the prospect of severe financial and reputational harm as a result of the event, Qatar pledged to ensure the “safety and security” of passengers in the future.
Apologies were also issued by the country’s prime minister, and the airport police officer who conducted the searches was reportedly imprisoned.
However, according to Sturzaker, the women were not informed of any changes to airport protocols, and their attempts to seek mediation were unsuccessful.
He went on to say that they now wanted to publicize their case ahead of the FIFA World Cup to ensure that other travelers were well-informed before visiting Qatar.
Sturzaker added, a lawsuit against the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways, and the country’s government will be filed in Australia within weeks.
Qatar Airways and the Qatari embassy in Canberra did not immediately reply to calls for comment.
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