Sun, 29 Nov 2020

Authorities have released footage of the moment a newborn baby girl was found abandoned at Qatar's main airport on 2 October.

The one-minute, 17-second security camera footage, obtained on Wednesday by local website Doha News, shows the infant wrapped in a blue blanket as she was discovered by paramedics at Hamad International Airport.

"The footage surfaced just hours after Doha confirmed the launch of an immediate inquiry into the incident," Doha News said in its report.

The baby was recovered from a toilet where she was "concealed in a plastic bag and buried under garbage", according to a statement by the Government Communications Office.

An immediate inquiry was launched into the incident, which saw at least 13 female Australian passengers subjected to internal exams - a move Qatar's government called "offensive" and "grossly inappropriate". Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said female passengers on 10 flights were affected.

A spokesperson for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Al Jazeera that "18 female passengers ... were involved in the incident" on an October 2 flight to Sydney, adding 13 were Australian and five were of other nationalities.

The women, on board the Qatar Airways flight bound for Sydney, "had their genitals invasively examined without their consent", the Seven News network reported on Sunday, adding the passengers were not given an explanation before the "strip searches" began.

One man on board the flight, QR908, told Australia's ABC News that many of the women who were taken off the flight for the examination were visibly upset on their return.

"One of them was in tears, a younger woman, and people couldn't believe what had happened," Wolfgang Babeck said.

The Transport Workers' Union of New South Wales, whose members service Qatar Airways planes at Sydney Airport, said on Tuesday it was considering industrial action against the carrier for "the brutal attack on the human rights of Australian female airline passengers".

"Other countries affected absolutely share Australia's views and the strength of Australia's views," said Frances Adamson, secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "This is not by any standard normal behaviour and the Qataris recognise that and are appalled by it, do not want it to happen again."

In a statement on Wednesday, Doha condemned the inappropriate conduct and said it "regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action".

Authorities are now searching for the woman in a criminal case that could be attempted murder.

The Qatar Government Communications Office said the baby is "now safe under medical care in Doha".

Source: News24

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