Australian women who underwent invasive genealogical tests in Qatar have demanded that the authorities bring to justice those responsible.

Thirteen innocent women were waiting on the tarmac on board a Sydney-bound Qatar Airlines flight from London on October 2 last year when they were ordered off the plane to undergo their excruciating ordeal. 

The authorities in this hardline Islamic country were searching for the mother to the newborn baby discovered alive in Doha’s Hamad International Airport bin. They also rounded up any women of childbearing potential and subjected them to extensive strip searches.

Women who had to undergo the body cavity inspections required them to be completely naked described it as humiliating and traumatizing.

Australian women have taken Qatari officials to court for what they consider a human rights violation. 

CCTV footage released by local media showed first responders crowded around the baby (pictured) at Doha Airport

Local media released CCTV footage showing first responders crowding around the baby at Doha Airport (pictured).

Staff strip searched the women - who had been on a Qatar Airways flight - without their consent after allegedly discovering an abandoned baby in an airport bathroom (file picture)

After allegedly finding an abandoned child in an airport toilet, staff strip searched the woman without consent.

An alarming message was broadcast over the intercom, requesting that all female passengers board the aircraft with their passports.

The passengers who were puzzled, including some that they feared it might be a terrorist act, were taken to an elevator where guards took them.

Anna, a woman from Anna’s group on Qatar Airways Flight 908, said that she thought they would be taken as legal pawns or kidnapped. My fear was that I would be raped, that my child will be taken and that no one from our family will ever see me again.

“It was my most frightening moment in my entire life.

“I was shaking, crying, and pinching my baby. I did not want to be in an elevator with guards armed, not knowing what was happening and where they were taking us.

After being taken to the ambulance by a nurse, they said nothing and were then directed to lie on the gurney. 

Anna stated, “She pulled my underwear down and grabbed my pants,”

“It was humiliation and an abuse of power, as well as a violation of my human rights.”

It is forbidden for anyone to touch or to remove me from my body without my permission. This is what happened in an airport with a large airline.

Sophie, another passenger, said that her experience left her suffering severe trauma. She told 60 Minutes she reported the incident to the Australian Federal Police as soon as she got back from Australia. 

Sophie (pictured on 60 Minutes) said the ordeal at the hands of Qatar authorities was traumatising and confirmed she immediately notified the Australian Federal Police upon her return.

Sophie, pictured in 60 Minutes. She said that the experience at Qatar’s hands was very traumatizing and she confirmed to 60 Minutes that she immediately informed the Australian Federal Police. 

Anna (pictured on 60 Minutes) said it was the scariest moment of her life when guards took her off the plane. ''I thought we were going to be kidnapped or held as legal pawns. I feared we were going to be raped and that my child is going to be taken and that we will never see family again.'

Anna (pictured by 60 Minutes), said it was her most terrifying moment when she was taken off the aircraft by guards. “I was afraid we would be taken or used as legal pawns.” I was afraid we would be raped, that our child will be taken away and that we won’t see our family again.

“I was angry, rageful and unable to control my anger when I left the ambulance. I did not protest enough. I felt powerless.’

Kim Mills, Grandmother, also recalled what had happened in the ambulance. 

According to the Guardian, the Australian woman said that she had told her to lower my waist and asked for a medical examination of my genitals.

I said “I’m no doing that”, and she didn’t explain any of it to me. She kept repeating, “We must see it. We need to view it.” 

According to the woman, she attempted to flee but couldn’t find a safe place to hide so she gave up and accepted her fate.

“I panicked.” “Everyone had become white, and they were shaking,” she stated.

Although Qatari authorities condemned the incident at the time, no meaningful action has been taken over the mass assaults which were also carried out on an unknown number of women of other nationalities (pictured: Doha skyline)

While Qatari authorities have condemned the attack at the time it was committed, there has not been any meaningful response to the mass attacks on women from other countries (photo: Doha skyline).

The women were sitting on board a Sydney-bound flight from Hamad International Airport (pictured) in Doha on October 2 when they were hauled off the plane and bundled into ambulances to undergo the exam

These women, who were travelling from Sydney to Hamad International Airport (pictured in Doha) on October 2, were sitting aboard a flight bound for Sydney. They were then taken off the plane by their pilots and loaded into ambulances so they could undergo an exam.

Ms Mills stated that the women were brought into an interview room where they were asked to give their flight details.

She said that her legs felt ‘just wobbling’ when she got back to the airport.

She stated, “I don’t know what those young girls must have felt like.

“I am a mother to three girls and I reflected back on that flight and realized how lucky I was.

Another young woman named Jane remembered thinking ‘this is bizarre, like why am I having to remove my pants?’ When she was asked to get in the ambulance.

She said, “I must remove your underwear”, and I replied “I’m not comfortable with taking off my underwear.”

“I physically held them up” and she replied, “No, they must go down!”

I said, “Why, why?” And I was stunned. I can remember lying there, thinking that this was not right. This is not the way it should be done. 

The incident was condemned by Qatar authorities at the time. However, there has not been any significant action taken regarding mass sexual assaults on unknown numbers of females of other nationalities.

One guard was reported to have received a suspension sentence and the Persian Gulf state attributed all the incident. 

The Australian government formally registered serious concerns with Qatari authorities but no meaningful action has been taken (pictured: Doha Airport)

Although the Australian government raised serious concerns about Qatari officials, no concrete action was taken. (photo: Doha Airport).

While the Qatari authorities initially called it ‘unacceptable,’ they have yet to apologize for the victims and Qatar Airways has refused to offer an official apology.  

They have taken legal action against Qatar Airways, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and for assault battery and deprivation.

Sophie explained, “We were led to these ambulances with no other choice but, but, we now have a decision and are going to act,” 

Legal counsel Damian Sturzaker from law firm Marque, said: ‘The incident was in breach of many international covenants and obviously in breach of human rights.

“One can see that this was an overreaction given the situation the airport authorities were in. It is impossible to imagine such a thing happening at Tullamarine or Mascot (airports located in Australia).

“We desire a fair outcome, and that positive steps be taken to ensure the safety of all people travelling through Doha.

Campaigners warn that sexual violence victims in Qatar “can easily be accused” due to the government’s strict interpretation of Islamic law. 

Campaigners claim victims of sexual abuse can ‘easily become the accused’ under the authority of the Gulf state. This is due to its extreme interpretation of Islamic Law.

Qatar has seen many instances of men in Qatar being accused of having had sex with women outside their marriage. Punishments for the crime of ‘zina’ – any act of illicit intercourse – normally involve a year in prison and, if the woman is Muslim, up to 100 lashes.

Rothna Begum is a senior researcher in women’s rights at Human Rights Watch. She spoke to The Mail Sunday about her concerns that the World Cup next year will bring zina laws into sharp focus.

‘Our concern is that while Qatar is a safe country, the World Cup – as with any major event – will inevitably see an increase in sexual violence cases and the risk of women, possibly football fans from other countries, becoming double victims,’ said Ms Begum.