The Qatari government has issued fresh statement over the traumatic examinations that were conducted on female passengers bound for Sydney connected with a new-born baby abandoned in Doha airport. On Monday, the public prosecutor said that the mother had been identified, but she was not among those passengers searched.
18 women - including a New Zealand citizen – were subjected to "humiliating" invasive examinations to identify if the mother of the abandoned child was among the passengers.
The Gulf state has issued a statement saying it "regrets" these searches which were conducted on the passengers of 10 flights, and that officers from the Airport Security Department would face criminal charges.
Qatar claims also to have identified both parents, who have since left the country, and Reuters reported this could see the mother being given 15 years in jail in absentia.
The child which had been born prematurely on 2 October and abandoned at Hamad International Airport was taken into care by social services.
A public prosecutor for the case said only that parents were both from "Asian countries".
The statement form the prosecution on Monday said that subsequent investigations found that the mother was able to depart on a plane after abandoning the infant in a public toilet of the international departures lounge.
The father of the child is now also known to the prosecution, and he had "admitted that he had a relationship with the infant's mother, and that she had sent him a message and a photo of the newborn infant immediately after her birth."
DNA screening has also linked the parents. Guest workers in Qatar on long-term work arrangements are required to leave blood samples during registration for work permits, which links the child to these expatriate workers.
However the initial heavy handed and rushed response to find the parents of the infant has now been declared illegal. Searches led to traumatic and humiliating treatment of passengers transiting through Doha airport and diplomatic repercussions with the countries of the passengers including New Zealand.
The public prosecution also found Airport Police involved in the invasive searches to have broken the law, with each facing "penalties of a maximum of three years."
The NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) confirmed that a New Zealand citizen "was involved in the appalling incident involving female passengers on several Qatar Airways flights".
The MFAT spokesperson said this action was "completely unacceptable," and that the ministry was "making our views known to Qatari authorities and are seeking a full report on what occurred."
The Qatar government statement, October
On 2 October a newborn was found in a trashcan concealed in a plastic bag and buried under garbage at the Hamad International Airport and the baby was rescued from an appalling attempt to kill her and the infant is now safe under medical care in Doha.
This was the first instance of an abandoned infant being found in such condition at the airport and is egregious and life-threatening violation of the law triggered an immediate search for the parents, including on flights within the vicinity of where the newborn was found.
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 traveller caused by this action.
His Excellency of Qatar, the Prime Minister and Minister of interior of the state of Qatar has directed that a comprehensive transparent investigation into the incident be conducted.
The results of the investigation will be shared with our international partners. The state of Qatar remains committed to ensuring the safety and security and comfort of all travellers transiting through the country.