We gave a new smartphone to some friends to take to my in-laws in Iran. We turned off the phone before we gave it to them. They were flying with Qatar Airways. They had one stop in Doha. When they arrived the smartphone was missing. We later found out through our google account that the phone was turned on and the gmail account on the phone was accessed in Qatar.
I know that we shouldn't have put a valuable item in the checked baggage. But in this case, a lot of their items were valuable and they didn't have room to put the smart phone in their carry-on.
I'm wondering if there is any recourse? If the phone was turned on while on Layover in Qatar, so no other traveler could have taken it, doesn't this mean that only an employee of Qatar Airways could be responsible (that is what I am assuming)?
Qatar Airways sent a response saying that according to their Terms and Conditions, they are not responsible. But I'm hoping there is some justification since no other traveler could have stolen it.
Screenshot showing the phone was accessed in Qatar: