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Friday, May 14, 2021

‘Deeply concerned’ Sydney Swans seek answers from sponsor Qatar Airways following HIA incident

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The Australian football team expressed its concern about the recent Hamad International Airport [HIA] incident that saw the violation of women’s rights.

The Australian Football League’s [AFL] Sydney Swans are seeking answers from their corporate partner, Qatar Airways, following recent reports of 13 Australian women passengers being forcibly subjected to invasive medical examination at HIA, The Guardian reported on Monday.

“We were deeply concerned by the media reports last week involving the treatment of female passengers at Hamad International Airport in Doha,” a Sydney Swans spokesperson told Guardian Australia.

The spokesperson of the AFL team added that his “club has sought more information on the situation and that dialogue is continuing” among the two organisations.

Qatar Airways and the Swans renewed their partnership when an initial three-year deal expired last year.

Read also: Qatar, Australia join efforts to monitor HIA strip search case

On Saturday, Qatari authorities and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade agreed to continue to monitor the HIA case closely while prioritising the issue and exchanging updates.

This came after Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women of the Commonwealth of Australia, held a phone call on Friday to discuss the controversial incident.

The issue came under global spotlight on October 25, sparking local and international outrage.

Australian media reported that thirteen Australian women, among others, were reportedly taken off a Qatar Airways flight and subjected to a thorough medical examination after a baby was found in a restroom at HIA.

Qatar has since profusely apologised about the violation of women’s rights.

“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,” the Government Communications Office said in a statement on Friday.

Qatar confirmed it is prosecuting a number of people involved in the invasive physical examination of women passengers at the airport.

Read also: Qatar prosecutes those accused of ordering strip search on women passengers

The Australian Federal Government earlier addressed “serious concerns” over allegations that staff at the airport made the passengers on flight QR 908 undergo a strip-search after forcing them off the flight without providing them with information.

In response to the incident, Doha has launched an immediate inquiry into the case while also searching for the mother who delivered the baby girl at HIA’s facilities and attempted to murder her, turning it into an attempted murder case.


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