Out of Court: Qatar Airways Spares Litigation in Australia on Invasive Examinations

Qatar Airways Spares Litigation in Australia on Invasive Exam
The airline is owned by the Qatari government

Qatar Airways Spares Litigation in Australia on Invasive Examinations

Five Australian women who underwent strip searches and invasive examinations at Doha airport in 2020 have encountered a legal setback in their case against Qatar Airways. The incident unfolded after the discovery of a newborn baby abandoned in an airport bin, prompting authorities to request female passengers to disembark for checks to ascertain if they had recently given birth.

Despite the women’s allegations of “unlawful physical contact” and false imprisonment leading to mental health issues, an Australian court determined that Qatar Airways, being a state-owned airline, was shielded from foreign prosecution under the Montreal Convention. This international treaty governs airline liability in cases of passenger injury or death. Furthermore, the court ruled that the airline’s personnel could not be held liable for the actions of Qatari authorities who conducted the searches.

Nevertheless, the court permitted the women to proceed with their lawsuit against Matar, a Qatar Airways subsidiary responsible for managing Hamad International Airport. The women claim that Matar employees failed to prevent the intrusive searches and breached their duty of care.

The women, who described feeling violated and traumatized by the ordeal, had sought accountability from Qatar and advocated for procedural changes at airports to prevent similar incidents in the future. Despite Qatar’s acknowledgment of the mistreatment and subsequent legal actions against airport officials, the women remained committed to pursuing justice and ensuring the prevention of such treatment in the future.


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