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Qatar files complaint with ICAO over Al Arabiya report

Doha says the Saudi TV channel's video report showing a Qatar Airways plane being shot down 'terrorises' travellers.

Al Arabiya Screengrab

Qatar has filed a complaint before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), against what it calls attempts to "terrorise" travellers who are flying on its national flag carrier.

In a letter sent to the Montreal-based United Nations agency on Saturday, Doha said the Saudi-led group that has imposed a blockade on Qatar has violated international law by broadcasting a news report showing the shooting down of a Qatar Airways passenger aircraft. 

The report aired by the Dubai-based Saudi channel Al Arabiya TV "constitutes a clear and serious violation of international treaties and conventions, particularly the 1944 Chicago Convention, the international air traffic service agreement and international air law", the letter said.


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Qatar asked the ICAO to "remind all member states that they are responsible for the safety of air traffic in their countries".

The Al Arabiya report, which aired on August 9, claimed that international law allows countries to take down any plane that enters its airspace, since it can be defined as a "hostile target".

At one point in the video, an animation of a rocket is seen being fired at a Qatar Airways plane. 

The video also mentioned forcing a plane to land and sending the cabin crew to trial for "breaching national security."

'Shocking'

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, sea and air blockade on June 5.

All Qatar-registered planes were immediately prohibited from flying over the airspace of the blockading countries, forcing airlines to take longer and more expensive routes.

The air traffic restrictions have caused headaches for the 2.4 million residents of Qatar, 90 percent of whom are foreigners.

The quartet accuse Qatar of funding "terrorism", an accusation Qatar rejects as "baseless".

The ICAO announced earlier this month that Qatar Airways had been granted access to new routes over international waters in the Gulf controlled by UAE and Bahrain.

In its latest complaint, Qatar said the questionable Al Arabiya report has been widely circulated in the international media.

The report also drew condemnation on social media, with one London-based aviation analyst Alex Macheras calling it "shocking".

Sarah Lord, a Doha-based UK native, also criticised Al Arabiya for airing the report, writing to the channel on Twitter, "Literally lost any ounce of dignity they ever had".


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