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Qatar Apologizes over Strip Searches after Airport Birth

Qatar has issued an apology over strip searches conducted at Hamad International Airport after a newborn was found in a trash bin on October 2. At least some of the women involved were aboard Qatar Airways Flight 908, which was about to depart for Sydney. Australia complained about the incident although it now says women aboard other flights waiting to depart were also ordered to deplane. The 18 women removed from the Sydney-bound airliner, among them five non-Australian nationals, were taken to an ambulance on the tarmac, where they forcibly underwent vaginal examinations. “While the aim of the urgently decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the state of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveler caused by this action,” the government said in a statement issued on Wednesday. The Government Communications Office said the newborn, reportedly a girl, had been “concealed in a plastic bag and buried under trash,” apparently in a restroom. It called this an “egregious and life-threatening violation of the law,” adding that authorities had searched for the mother, “including on flights in the vicinity of where the newborn was found.”