Qatari airport police officers who ordered the forced examinations of female passengers face “penalties of a maximum of three years”, prosecutors have said.
The female passengers were taken off their flights and examined in ambulances on the tarmac at Hamad International Airport in Doha on 2 October.
It was part of a police effort to identify the mother of a newborn baby found abandoned in an airport bathroom.
Qatari prosecutors said on Monday that an unspecified number of judicial police officers working in the airport security department had been charged after “acting unilaterally”.
A statement said: “Extensive investigations revealed that some employees of the Airport Security Department acted unilaterally by summoning female medical staff to conduct external examination to some female passengers, thinking that what they had done was within the law.”
Describing the exams as “external” contradicts other reports, which had said the exams were invasive.
Prosecutors said they have identified the baby’s mother, describing her as an Asian national and a “convict”.
She is understood to have fled the country before the baby was found.
Legal proceedings have been launched to arrest her after prosecutors charged her with attempted murder.
She faces up to 15 years in prison if she is caught.
Prosecutors also said the father has been identified using a DNA test, although they did not say how he was initially found.
He has been charged, although the nature of his offence is not clear.
The abandoned baby girl is being taken care of by Qatari authorities.
In Qatar, like much of the Middle East, sex and child birth outside marriage are illegal and harshly punished.
Migrant workers in the past have hidden pregnancies and tried to travel abroad to give birth. Others have abandoned their babies to avoid prison.
The situation came to light late in October after a number of Australian passengers complained after being taken off their Sydney-bound flight and searched.
It is thought other nationalities and flights to nine other destinations were also targeted but this has not been confirmed.
Australia described the searches as inappropriate and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent, with foreign minister Marise Payne calling the situation “grossly disturbing, offensive [and] concerning”.
The Qatari government said at the time: “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.”
Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani has apologised.
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