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Australian women on Qatar flight internally examined

OATEK

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In "olden times" when you landed in the Middle east and descended the stairs to the hot tarmac, you were usually met by gun toting security. I always assumed this meant you were on their soil, their rules. Now I'd expect the moment you exit the a/c doors into the air-bridge you are on their soil. So is taking someone off a plane for an inspection a transgression of another country's laws, the domicile of the plane?
But then what about the olden days again when an international flight landed in Australia to be met by the Quarantine people who'd board, then walk down the aisles spray cans blazing, who's sovereignty were they infringing if at all.
Just thinking loudly.
I too remember descending the stairs to the tarmac in Dubai, Bahrain etc to be met by armed security, being directed onto buses, and despatched to the terminal. I was never in any doubt that airside was some sort of special bubble not covered by local law, but that in fact local law would apply. The actions of the Qataris in this matter is to all Australians, and many citizens of other countries, a fundamental breach of human rights, but whether it breaks any laws is yet to be determined.
 

Bell21

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There was some discussion early on that laws didn't apply airside because people are allowed to buy and drink alcohol. While that's true, it's not a case of the law 'not applying', it's a case that exemptions are in place, in the law, to allow the purchase and/or consumption of alcohol airside.

According to the initial statement, this is the first case of this type of incident with a newborn being found in these circumstances.
Fair enough re 'new born' - I was more thinking of the examinations. Yes, it seems clear from this thread that a country's laws appear to apply airside - it will be interesting to read more about their 'processes' for dealing with this current type of scenario
 

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In "olden times" when you landed in the Middle east and descended the stairs to the hot tarmac, you were usually met by gun toting security. I always assumed this meant you were on their soil, their rules. Now I'd expect the moment you exit the a/c doors into the air-bridge you are on their soil. So is taking someone off a plane for an inspection a transgression of another country's laws, the domicile of the plane?
But then what about the olden days again when an international flight landed in Australia to be met by the Quarantine people who'd board, then walk down the aisles spray cans blazing, who's sovereignty were they infringing if at all.
Just thinking loudly.

There was a case a few years ago - I think it was in DOH actually - where airside security busted someone with drugs - a random search IIRC. Marched straight off and charged, as if landside. I mean, no-one would think that in the middle east it would be otherwise?

There was also one of those 'Airport' shows - Dubai I think - where they showed the operation of security airside, searching people etc. Again, clear that Emirati law prevailed.

Absolutely no doubt in my mind that once off the plane you are subject to the laws of the country you are surrounded by. In the air its less clear, but if there is a crime in the air over a country and the plane lands in that country, then local law and local law enforcers will be 'persuasive' I think.

Now, going back to the incident in question, it may be that this was illegal under Qatari law (you would hope so, but can't be sure). But I dare say that there will be nothing done beyond what we have seen already unless there is widespread international pressure, which is why I keep looking for evidence that other nations are doing as we are. Think of when the Saudis murdered someone within their embassy in Turkey. No question, Saudi territory. Yet there was at least some repercussions for the perpetrators, if no accountability to the top.
 

TheRealTMA

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There was a case a few years ago - I think it was in DOH actually - where airside security busted someone with drugs - a random search IIRC. Marched straight off and charged, as if landside. I mean, no-one would think that in the middle east it would be otherwise?

There was also one of those 'Airport' shows - Dubai I think - where they showed the operation of security airside, searching people etc. Again, clear that Emirati law prevailed.

Absolutely no doubt in my mind that once off the plane you are subject to the laws of the country you are surrounded by. In the air its less clear, but if there is a crime in the air over a country and the plane lands in that country, then local law and local law enforcers will be 'persuasive' I think.

Now, going back to the incident in question, it may be that this was illegal under Qatari law (you would hope so, but can't be sure). But I dare say that there will be nothing done beyond what we have seen already unless there is widespread international pressure, which is why I keep looking for evidence that other nations are doing as we are. Think of when the Saudis murdered someone within their embassy in Turkey. No question, Saudi territory. Yet there was at least some repercussions for the perpetrators, if no accountability to the top.
While it’s difficult to say, the behaviour of the Qataris is a little different from the Saudis I would suggest, although marginal. Given that the soccer WC is there in 2022?, the payouts for the outrage I suggest will be readily forthcoming. Presumably the person who ordered the outrage will be sent to Saudi Arabia for treatment. :)
 

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So is taking someone off a plane for an inspection a transgression of another country's laws, the domicile of the plane?
But then what about the olden days again when an international flight landed in Australia to be met by the Quarantine people who'd board, then walk down the aisles spray cans blazing, who's sovereignty were they infringing if at all.
Just thinking loudly.

in case (a), I suspect taking someone off a plane to investigate an alleged crime would be unlikely to be a breach of any laws,
in case (b), if not covered by an actual law, it would likely be in some other instrument such as the licence to fly to Australia, ie, you need to make your plane available for quarantine spraying.

Absolutely no doubt in my mind that once off the plane you are subject to the laws of the country you are surrounded by. In the air its less clear, but if there is a crime in the air over a country and the plane lands in that country, then local law and local law enforcers will be 'persuasive' I think.

In flight the starting point would be the Tokyo Convention, which applies the law of the state of registration for the purposes of safety and 'good order' on board.
 

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This is incident is a shocker but big questions also need to be answered.

This happened on Oct 2 and only coming out now? Why.
Some of the women may have had English as a second language and been permanent residents not citizens, but not all. 2 weeks in quarantine is not total isolation, the hotels have telephones to call the press, relatives, MP's etc. (funny how Morrison arranged for flights to collect passengers from London and India just before the story broke but after the incident).

Where the female flight crew and the airport cleaners searched and did security first look at the cc TV cameras to see who dumped the kid.? They certainly have cc ceiling camera footage of it being carried after finding. (NB. Child was a girl- considered an insignificant second class citizen in the ME -so why the fuss)

What did the Oz men do on the plane and why did the women get up from their seats, who leaves their sleeping children in a plane on the tarmac, if they think it is a hijacking or anything else? (even if the little old lady did-also sounds like she was the only one with any guts). I have flown through and stayed in Abu Dhabi several times and If authorities in the middle east want to separate male and females on a plane there is something odd going on (has some very nasty Fascist Germany connotations).
(Just thinking and discussing with my much travelled friends what we would do. if they tried to drag us off a plane in the ME we would be screaming for the Australian commissioner).

If it actually got as far as me being shut in an ambulance with a female medic and told to strip and spread'em, I would not cooperate and what is going to happen then? Strap me down, and I'd be screaming and fighting. I'm 5ft 8in and it would take a few! Thrown in a Qatar jail then a Huge diplomatic incident! Surely at least one of these women stood up for herself and said NO! They were in a group on the tarmac, didn't they all say no after the first one found out what was going on.

Something else even more disturbing I've read (maybe on the BBC web) is on this plane was a Female DFAT 'staffer' not on duty. She was of a mature age and not searched. So what did she do to help the rest. Diplomatic passport I bet, and at a mature age she is not going to be the office junior! I'm also a retired mid level Fed public servant but not something as relevant to this issue as Foreign Affairs and Trade. I'm astonished she must have done nothing except report back to the Gov , - who did nothing. At least Penny Wong is calling it like it is. Morrison is as weak as custard, all he can do is say 'I've got daughters'. Bahh.

Good on the unions for contemplating black-banning Qatar at Oz airports. I hope they do let them get stuck here with no re-fueling. Qatar are the ones who jacked up their prices and threw economy passengers off when Oz restricted numbers entering. They could have just filled 2 planes a week instead of making all travel business. Oz will just have to send/charter more Qantas and Virgin planes to repatriate citizens not through the ME. How about Singapore and Delhi?

When the world opens up I want to go to the Uk for business and pleasure. Won't be going Qatar even though once it seemed to be good pricing. Nothing via the ME. Also not Chinese, Indian, Garuda or Malaysian. From Perth It really leaves Qantas, Singapore Air, or something via Japan. Not a lot left.
 

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but not all. 2 weeks in quarantine is not total isolation, the hotels have telephones to call the press, relatives, MP's etc

Yes, I made the same observation up-thread.

(funny how Morrison arranged for flights to collect passengers from London and India just before the story broke but after the incident).

Sigh. :rolleyes:

I have flown through and stayed in Abu Dhabi several times and If authorities in the middle east want to separate male and females on a plane there is something odd going on (has some very nasty Fascist Germany connotations).

If you'd been to the ME, then you'd know (or should know) that separation of males and females in the region for various reasons is so common as not to be thought unusual.

If it actually got as far as me being shut in an ambulance with a female medic and told to strip and spread'em, I would not cooperate and what is going to happen then? Strap me down, and I'd be screaming and fighting. I'm 5ft 8in and it would take a few! Thrown in a Qatar jail then a Huge diplomatic incident! Surely at least one of these women stood up for herself and said NO! They were in a group on the tarmac, didn't they all say no after the first one found out what was going on.

The same thing crossed my mind at first, but as a male didn't dare make the observation. I think Pushka's general explanation made sense.

I'm astonished she must have done nothing except report back to the Gov , - who did nothing. At least Penny Wong is calling it like it is. Morrison is as weak as custard, all he can do is say 'I've got daughters'. Bahh.

Sigh. Another who thinks fault-finding with the Australian government is useful. Simply and demonstrably untrue to say "did nothing". Also politicising this dreadful incident. If only similar outrage was directed against the Qatari government.
 
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Pushka

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In "olden times" when you landed in the Middle east and descended the stairs to the hot tarmac, you were usually met by gun toting security. I always assumed this meant you were on their soil, their rules. Now I'd expect the moment you exit the a/c doors into the air-bridge you are on their soil. So is taking someone off a plane for an inspection a transgression of another country's laws, the domicile of the plane?
But then what about the olden days again when an international flight landed in Australia to be met by the Quarantine people who'd board, then walk down the aisles spray cans blazing, who's sovereignty were they infringing if at all.
Just thinking loudly.
I remember landing in Muscat in the ‘80’s and not allowed off the plane and it was surrounded by guards with rifles while we refuelled.

Telling a female in such a situation they should have stood up for themselves indicates a lack of understanding of so many things related to power and authority. Let alone in the midst of all the issues of COVID, travel requirements, stress and fatigue.
 
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Dee#

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If you'd been to the ME, then you'd know (or should know) that separation of males and females in the region for various reasons is so common as not to be thought unusual
Yes its normal for some things including the mosque but certainly not normal in this manner on a plane!
 

Dee#

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Sigh. Another who thinks fault-finding with the Australian government is useful. Simply and demonstrably untrue to say "did nothing". Also politicising this dreadful incident. If only similar outrage was directed against the Qatari government.
I have been a fed public servant for 31 years, ( was effective but it started going bad around 1995 ) with 2 different departments, so I have extensive experience with the ridiculous actions of the Government, often preventing you from doing your job effectively or properly. No, I have no faith in either liberal or labour and I've been on the inside operating under their rules, but only stayed because I wanted the salary and the super for life (and ended up detrained for anything else except gov bulls**t and got out as soon as I could.
I find it astonishing that a DFAT employee would say or do nothing as they would be aware of a lot of the overseas rules, or could at least stuck their neck out and have said to authorities 'this is wrong' and phones home for help.
 
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Because of the general lack of communication on this event, it’s very difficult to know exactly what was said for example in the ambulance, who here in Aus knew when and about what etc.
Those purporting to know and those purporting to tell them that they are wrong are all basically engaging in supposition as we are still more or less in the dark.
Hopefully soon we will find out some more.
 

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I find it astonishing that a DFAT employee would say or do nothing as they would be aware of a lot of the overseas rules, or could at least stuck their neck out and have said to authorities 'this is wrong' and phones home for help.

So help us out. How do you know what that person did or didn't do? I've never worked in government but I think I understand that much what is done in government, especially in Foreign Affairs, that isn't in the public domain.

We are all upset and pretty outraged about this. As I've noted up-thread (and probably unseen by you for the reasons you've given), in situations like this, I don't think there is much to be gained for Australia to stand up and start throwing sh*t. I reckon short of invading Qatar, we aren't going to get any justice for the women involved other than by diplomatic processes and even then, its a crap shoot.
 
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MEL_Traveller

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This happened on Oct 2 and only coming out now? Why.
Some of the women may have had English as a second language and been permanent residents not citizens, but not all. 2 weeks in quarantine is not total isolation, the hotels have telephones to call the press, relatives, MP's etc. (funny how Morrison arranged for flights to collect passengers from London and India just before the story broke but after the incident).

Have we heard from the women involved? If you were subject to that sort of invasive procedure, would you want everyone knowing the day you got back? Maybe they needed time to process what happened, to tell people on their own terms, not dictated by the media? is there any suggestion from those who have returned that they wanted to get their story out but were refused?

What did the Oz men do on the plane and why did the women get up from their seats, who leaves their sleeping children in a plane on the tarmac, if they think it is a hijacking or anything else?

There is a report from a woman on the plane who initially thought it was a covid related matter, especially once she saw the ambulances. She thought they were going to test the female passengers first, then the males. It was only later that the true nature of the incident was known: 'I was absolutely terrified': Australian witness recounts Qatar strip-search ordeal
 

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So, here we are. Four weeks on. And all I hear from the Oz government is crickets. Do they believe that the Qatari response will change anything for the better?
 
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The human rights lawyer that was on the same plane and was the first one that I heard being interviewed broke the story for me.
He said that the women came back to the plane very upset and some crying. So I think what happened was known pretty well straight away. Any reasonably mature woman would probably not be quite so shy about explaining what had been done to her.

I think about three women have been interviewed and broadcast.

EDIT : The interview with the lawyer on the plane :"Grossly inappropriate" treatment of female airline passengers

Have we heard from the women involved? If you were subject to that sort of invasive procedure, would you want everyone knowing the day you got back? Maybe they needed time to process what happened, to tell people on their own terms, not dictated by the media? is there any suggestion from those who have returned that they wanted to get their story out but were refused?
There is a report from a woman on the plane who initially thought it was a covid related matter, especially once she saw the ambulances. She thought they were going to test the female passengers first, then the males. It was only later that the true nature of the incident was known: 'I was absolutely terrified': Australian witness recounts Qatar strip-search ordeal
 
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Scr77

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This is the latest statement directly from the Qatari government, which includes an apology this time: Government Communications Office Statement on the preliminary findings of the Hamad International Airport investigation - Government Communications Office

The preliminary investigation into the attempted murder of a newborn baby found in a very serious condition at Hamad International Airport (HIA), and the subsequent procedures taken by the authorities at the airport, including examining a number of female passengers, revealed that standard procedures were violated. Those responsible for these violations and illegal actions have been referred to the Public Prosecution Office.

Following the directives of His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, specialised task forces are reviewing and identifying any potential gaps in the procedures and protocols followed at Hamad International Airport, in order to address them and ensure that any violations are avoided in the future.

His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior expressed the Government of the State of Qatar’s sincerest apology for what some female travelers went through as a result of the measures.

This incident is the first of its kind at HIA, which has served tens of millions of passengers without any issues like this before. What took place is wholly inconsistent with Qatar’s culture and values. Qatar is fully committed to the safety and security of all travelers arriving to or transiting through HIA.


This is what I said at the start of the week that Qatar would need to do to restore its reputation:

Qatar’s reputation will take a very long time to recover in Australia (and, frankly, the Western world) unless:

(a) it provides a clear explanation of what happened
(b) those responsible are held to account
(c) an unreserved apology is issued
(d) there is an assurance that this can never happen again.

On the surface, it looks like they have actually now done or started to do most of these things. Of course, whether there is actual change is another matter. And I still think the women involved deserve a direct apology and compensation. But even if they get this, is it enough to convince Australians that it's safe to travel through Doha again? I'm not sure.
 

MEL_Traveller

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The human rights lawyer that was on the same plane and was the first one that I heard being interviewed broke the story for me.
He said that the women came back to the plane very upset and some crying. So I think what happened was known pretty well straight away. Any reasonably mature woman would probably not be quite so shy about explaining what had been done to her.

I think about three women have been interviewed and broadcast.

EDIT : The interview with the lawyer on the plane :"Grossly inappropriate" treatment of female airline passengers

The interview you linked shows there was no immediate thought that this was a hijack or that anything bad was about to happen. And as mentioned, another passenger thought it was for a covid test. (The only reason I mentioned it was in response to the post questioning how anyone could leave the plane if they thought there was danger. It seems that may not have been the case.)
 

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