Abu Dhabi – Qatar says it has identified the parents of a newborn baby found abandoned at Doha international airport last month, in an incident that sparked widespread anger after more than a dozen women said they were invasively searched during the initial investigation.
In a statement on Monday, a Qatari prosecutor said that an unspecified number of airport security staff responsible for carrying out examinations of female passengers have been charged and could face prison sentences of up to three years.
The prosecutor said it had also charged the child’s mother, who has left the country, with attempted murder and that it had launched legal proceedings to arrest her. The mother identified only as of “Asian nationality” could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, said the statement.
The mother is believed to have boarded and departed on a flight out of Qatar sometime after abandoning the infant at the airport. The statement did not say where she had travelled to.
According to authorities in Qatar, the newborn baby was found either in or decide a rubbish bin in a bathroom at Hamad International Airport in Doha on October 2. The infant is now being taken care of by Qatari authorities.
After the infant was discovered, more than 18 women from 10 different flights, including 13 Australians aboard a Sydney-bound plane, were subjected to compulsory intimate medical examinations by airport security.
The examinations caused outrage in Australia, where the actions have been likened to sexual assault. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denounced the incident as “appalling” and “unacceptable”.