Several ladies to sue Qatar over strip-searches at Doha airport

Lawyer Damian Sturzaker says his purchasers are looking for compensation after coping with a ‘very traumatic episode’.

Seven Australia-based ladies are planning to sue the federal government of Qatar for being compelled into invasive gynaecological examinations at Doha’s worldwide airport final yr, their lawyer has stated.

Damian Sturzaker, from Sydney-based Marque Lawyers, stated on Monday that his purchasers have been looking for compensation “for the fact that they were effected at the time and continue to suffer”.

The ladies, who have been amongst a bunch of 13 Australians, have been ordered to disembark a Qatar Airways flight to Sidney and to be checked after a new child child was present in a plastic bag in a bin at a bathroom in one of many airport’s terminals in early October 2020.

“They have problems dealing with what was a very traumatic episode,” he added.

Nine or 10 different flights out of Doha have been equally delayed whereas ladies passengers have been searched, he added. The ladies stated they have been subjected to strip search in an ambulance parked on the tarmac.

Sturzaker stated he was not conscious of passengers on different flights taking authorized motion towards Qatar over the episode.

“They want an apology from the Qatar government for their treatment and what they want and have been asking for quite a long time is that procedures are put in place so that this won’t happen again,” Sturzaker added.

One of the lawyer’s purchasers, who declined to be named, instructed the BBC that she was “subjected to the most horrifically invasive physical exam”.

“I was certain that I was either going to be killed by one of the many men that had a gun, or that my husband on the plane was going to be killed,” she stated in a press release from her lawyer.

A Qatar authorities spokesman declined to remark, however referred to earlier statements. At the time of the incident, the Gulf nation’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani expressed his “deepest sympathies with the women impacted by the search at the airport” and renewed Qatar’s apology to them.

“The incident is considered a violation of Qatar’s laws and values,” he stated, including that the officers concerned had been referred to the general public prosecutor.

The ladies, aged from their early 30s to late 50s, would possible provoke authorized motion within the New South Wales state Supreme Court inside just a few weeks, Sturzaker stated. They haven’t specified the quantity of compensation that they’re looking for.

The Qatar authorities, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, in addition to the state-owned airline and airport, have been forwarded authorized recommendation that Australian courts had jurisdiction to listen to the case and that the claimants have been prone to win, Sturzaker stated.

Australian Federal Police knowledgeable the complainants final week {that a} single airport police officer had been fined and given a six-month suspended jail sentence for implementing the examinations, in accordance with the lawyer.

The airline has denied legal responsibility whereas the Qatar authorities stated it was contemplating the ladies’s declare, Sturzaker stated.

“We don’t hold out much hope in relation to anything other than a rejection of the claim,” Sturzaker stated, which means the declare would go to trial.