*** ----> Australian women lose bid to sue Qatar Airways over strip searches | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Australian women lose bid to sue Qatar Airways over strip searches

AFP | Sydney              

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

A group of Australian women strip-searched before boarding flights at Doha Airport have lost a legal bid against Qatar Airways, an Australian court ruled Thursday.

In an incident that sparked international outrage, Qatari authorities pulled women off 10 planes at Doha Airport in 2020 and forced them to take invasive gynaecological exams.

Authorities were hunting for the mother of a newborn found abandoned in an airport bathroom, and would not let the women back on the plane until they had been cleared.

Three Australian women caught up in the searches lodged legal action against Qatar Airways, claiming they were assaulted and falsely imprisoned throughout the ordeal.

An Australian judge dismissed the case because the women were not searched on board the aircraft, citing a well-worn international convention covering airline liability.

Federal Court Justice John Halley indicated they could instead amend the claim to seek damages against the operator of Doha Airport.

The incident fuelled concerns about Qatar's treatment of women as the Gulf state prepared to receive thousands of foreign visitors for the 2022 football World Cup.

Australia's government later cited it as a reason to block Qatar Airways from operating more flights into the country.

Qatar's Prime Minister Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani would offer his "sincerest apologies for what some female travellers went through".