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Posted On: 26 October 2020 08:59 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:22 pm

[UPDATED] HIA responds to invasive search of female Australian passengers after premature baby found in airport bathroom

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Female Australian passengers searched 'invasively' at HIA after premature baby found in terminal bathroom

[UPDATE] 28 October 2020, 9:50 AM

The Government Communications Office, on Wednesday, released a statement on an abandoned infant that was discovered at Hamad International Airport on 2 October.

The statement said "On 2nd October 2020, a newborn infant was found in a trash can, concealed in a plastic bag and buried under garbage, at Hamad International Airport. The baby girl was rescued from what appeared to be a shocking and appalling attempt to kill her. The infant is now safe under medical care in Doha.

This was the first instance of an abandoned infant being discovered in such a condition at HIA – this egregious and life-threatening violation of the law triggered an immediate search for the parents, including on flights in the vicinity of where the newborn was found. While the aim of the urgently-decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the State of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action."

The GCO statement also added, "His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar has directed that a comprehensive, transparent investigation into the incident be conducted. The results of the investigation will be shared with our international partners. The State of Qatar remains committed to ensuring the safety, security and comfort of all travelers transiting through the country."


Hamad International Airport (HIA) responded early this morning to an incident that took place earlier on in October, and said that a premature baby was abandoned in one of the HIA bathrooms on 2 October. Medical professionals became concerned about the welfare of the mother and a search for her was started, so she could be found before she departed from the country.

The following is the official statement sent to I Love Qatar by a HIA spokesperson:

"In response to a recent incident at Hamad International Airport, we wish to clarify matters with the following statement:
"On 2 October 2020, a newborn infant was found abandoned at Hamad International Airport. The newborn infant was immediately provided with medical attention and care. Medical professionals expressed concern to officials about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing HIA. Individuals who had access to the specific area of the airport where the newborn infant was found were asked to assist in the query.
"At this time, the new born infant remains unidentified, but is safe under the professional care of medical and social workers. The entire team at HIA requests anyone with any information or knowledge of the mother to contact us at [email protected]."

What is the background to this story?

The Sydney Morning Herald posted on its website in an article by Jenny Noyes and Anthony Galloway, that 13 female Australian passengers travelling from Doha to Sydney on Qatar Airways Flight QR 908 were taken off their plane, rounded up, detained and invasively and internally searched and checked inside an ambulance on the airport tarmac. Some other female passengers going to other destinations were also examined. HIA personnel were trying to determine whether the abandoned baby belonged to one of the passengers. Their flights were delayed for around four hours, while they were being examined to check if one of them may have just given birth.

The female Australian passengers have complained that no one sought their permission before examining and searching them. They have also reported that no one told them why they were being examined and that there was a premature baby found in one of the HIA terminal bathrooms, as written by News 7 on their website.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald, said that the incident had been raised by the Australian government with the Qatari Authorities already:

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

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald and News 7

This is a developing story.