Qatar says it identified mum of dumped baby in airport scandal

The mother had thrown the newborn infant in the trash can in one of the toilets and boarded a plane to her destination. PHOTO: AFP

DOHA (AFP, NYTIMES) - Qatar said Monday (Nov 23) that it had identified the mother of a baby girl dumped at its airport, an incident that prompted officials to order departing female passengers to undergo invasive examinations, sparking global outrage.

The public prosecutor said the mother and father were from "Asian countries" which in Qatar typically refers to the nations of South Asia which provide a large number of migrant workers.

The prosecutor said in a statement that efforts were under way "to arrest the fugitive" who is overseas and faces 15 years imprisonment, calling her a "convict" - suggesting she may have been convicted in absentia.

Women on 10 Qatar Airways flights out of Doha, including one to Sydney, were subjected to the examinations following the incident on October 2, leading to a diplomatic row with Australia.

"Investigations revealed that the infant's mother... threw the newborn infant in the trash can in one of the toilets in the departures lounge at the airport and boarded the plane to her destination," the prosecutor said.

"(The mother) had a relationship with another person of the nationality of one of the Asian countries as well, and this relationship resulted in the infant that was found.

"The father of the infant 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."

Qatar's public prosecutions office said in a statement released on Monday through the state-run Qatar News Agency that airport police officers involved in the invasive medical examinations have been charged.

It said an undisclosed number of police officers involved in the searches had "violated laws".

"Airport security performed its legal duty when searching for the perpetrator. However, some employees violated the procedures, summoning female medical staff at the airport to conduct external examination of female passengers, prior to the passengers being allowed to depart for their destination," the statement said.

But prosecutors said the officers had been unaware that their actions were unlawful. They added that some officers had "acted unilaterally" and had taken actions while "thinking that what they had done was within the law". The officers were not named.

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