Thailand halts plan to expel Saudi woman fleeing family

Rahaf Al Qunun posted

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thailand should not send Ms Qunun back to her family because she says she faces danger.

Saudi officials stopped 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun at Bangkok airport, preventing her from travelling to Australia where she planned to claim asylum.

"We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back Ms. Alqunun against her will and are extending protection for her", said Giuseppe de Vicentiis, UNHCR's representative in Thailand said on Tuesday.

Politicians and activists in Australia and Britain urged their governments to grant asylum to Qunun.

He said Thai officials were following the law in initially refusing her entry, but added "if she is to be hurt or punished or killed, we will need to take into consideration human rights principles".

Major General Surachate Hakparn told reporters that 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al Qunun would be granted entry under the protection of the office of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees.

"I want U.N".

Alqunun told both the newspaper and the world via social media that her deportation was essentially a death sentence.

"But at least I feel save now under UNHCR protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities. Finally, I regained my passport".

But Alqunun claims the assertion her family lives in Kuwait is a lie.

Lawyers in Thailand also filed an injunction with the Bangkok criminal court to prevent her deportation, according to Human Rights Watch's Asia Deputy Director Phil Robertson.

That tweet has already been retweeted and shared thousands of times, with her pleas for asylum having brought global attention to the hardships facing millions of women in Saudi Arabia.

She used a Canadian tourist's phone to send a message, a video of which was posted to Twitter, saying her family would kill her.

More news: Reports Conflict On How Long White Sox Will Go For Harper, Machado

Earlier on Monday, Thai officials admitted having contact with the Saudi embassy before her arrival, after previously denying it.

"We have no idea what he is going to do ... whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her".

"She ran away from her family to avoid marriage and she is concerned she may be in trouble returning to Saudi Arabia".

The official did not confirm or deny if the visa had been revoked, but said it would make no difference to her bid to reach Australia. It said she will be deported to Kuwait where her family live.

She came from Kuwait on her way to Australia with the intention of applying for asylum and escaping what she described as violence by her family. She accuses them of subjecting her to physical and psychological abuse.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was taken to a safe location in Bangkok where United Nations staff members will interview her and process her status determination in the coming days, the Washington Post reported.

He told Okaz that the embassy in touch with the Thai authorities to ensure her return to the country.

"I'm afraid, my family WILL kill me".

"They will kill me", she said.

She had asserted her independence and renounced Islam but had been forced to pray, wear a hijab and was beaten by her brother. I think my family has no good lies. The Australian Embassy said it had no immediate comment.

The agency "will take five days to consider her status" and another five days to arrange for travel, Surachate said, adding that he would meet with Saudi diplomats on Tuesday to explain Thailand's decision.

Despite efforts by the Saudi government to curtail the scope of male guardianship laws, women who try to flee their families in Saudi Arabia have few good options inside the kingdom.

Related News:



Most liked

AFP investigating after suspicious packages delivered to global consulates in Melbourne, Canberra
One firefighter was seen outside the South Korean consulate carrying a large plastic bag with the word "asbestos" written on it. In a statement, Victoria Police said they were aware that "a number" of consulate offices had received suspicious packages.

US, China Hold More Trade Talks Overshadowed By Kim Jong Un's Visit
US and Chinese officials are also holding trade talks in Beijing this week after agreeing on a temporary truce to their trade war last month.

Brazil's Bolsonaro confirms will participate in Davos
In one attack, explosives badly damaged a pillar supporting a flyover road in the town of Caucaia, just to the west of Fortaleza. Brazil has American technology to monitor borders and could obtain new technologies", Da Silva told The Associated Press.

20 children injured in attack at Chinese primary school
In October, a 39-year-old woman stormed a kindergarten in Chongqing, southwest China, injuring 14 kids with a kitchen knife. According to a tweet by state-run tabloid Global Times, the suspect used a hammer to carry out the assault.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church gets ‘tomos of autocephaly’ at historic ceremony in Istanbul
It favours European integration and championed the independent church but the Moscow Patriarchate denounces it as schismatic. Ukraine has accused Kremlin-backed churches of spreading pro-Russia propaganda, which Russian religious leaders have denied.

Trade grades: Who wins the Bulls-Grizzlies deal?
So will Selden, who actually shot a better percentage from 3-point range last season (40.2 percent) than Holiday ever has. What's more is Hutchison could've received more playing time without sending Holiday to the Grizzlies.

Man charged with murder in Houston girl’s death
Prosecutors say he was driving the vehicle that pulled alongside the Barnes family auto and that someone else shot into the auto . The sheriff's office was expected to provide more information at a news conference later on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic reacts to shock Qatar Open semi-final defeat
Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut won the Qatar Open with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych in the final. Bautista Agut took their match in straight sets, going 6-4 6-4 over Stan the Man.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits Council Bluffs
With the pivotal caucuses still more than a year away, Warren is the first major candidate to travel to the Hawkeye State. Warren is throwing her name into the ring early - but supporters in Council Bluffs say she should bring it on.

Trump says he’s unconcerned about Apple’s China sales warning
That lifted the annual increase in wages to 3.2 percent, matching October's rise, from 3.1 percent in November. And Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed will be flexible in its plan to hike interest rates.

Zach Thomas does not make Hall of Fame cut
Coryell, who coached the high-powered offenses of the Cardinals and Chargers in the 1970s and '80s, is a five-time finalist. He led the league in interceptions twice, including 1998 with New England, and also made the All-2000s team.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Ready To Give Opinion On January Signings
He might be partnered by Marouane Fellaini and Andreas Pereira , who is set to receive his first start under the new manager. Rashford said: "Hard work was the key, we had to persist throughout the game".

Ellen ‘forgives’ defiant Kevin Hart’s homophobia & says he should host the Oscars
What do you think of the heat Ellen DeGeneres is taking for her position on Kevin Hart? But that sentiment was far from universal. He pulled the plug on the gig last month. "I sincerely apologise to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past".

Kawhi Leonard blames media for Spurs fans booing him
It marked the first time that Kawhi Leonard played in San Antonio since being traded to the Toronto Raptors over the course of the offseason.

Spacecraft beams back first images of most distant object explored by mankind
The New Horizons spacecraft, which performed a flyby of Pluto in 2015, passed Ultima Thule on New Year's Day. The object has two lobes, with the larger one now taking the name Ultima and the smaller becoming Thule.