Five Australian women are suing the government of Qatar over forced vaginal exams and other invasive medical procedures at gunpoint at the Doha airport two years ago.
The women are seeking damages from both Qatar Airways and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority — owned by the Qatari government — over the “unlawful physical contact” and damage to their mental health, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The plaintiffs and several women on a Qatar Airways flight headed to Sydney — including citizens from Australia, New Zealand and Britain — were pulled off the aircraft and subjected to invasive gynecological exams in October 2020 after an abandoned newborn was discovered in an airport bathroom.
Abandoned newborns are a problem in the country, which imprisons women who become pregnant out of wedlock.
One of the women, a 33-year-old nurse, told The New York Times that she has not traveled since.
In Qatar, that typically means nations in South Asia, a source of a large number of migrant workers in the country.
Human rights activists have sharply criticized Qatar not only for its treatment of women, but of migrants as well. »