Global

Saudi woman is waiting in Thailand, to leave in the third country

Saudi woman is waiting in Thailand, to leave in the third country

The asylum claim of a Saudi woman who resisted deportation from Thailand will take several days to assess, the United Nations said on Tuesday, as the 18-year-old's family, who she accuses of abusing her, was due to arrive in Bangkok.

Instead, she was given back her passport and allowed to enter Thailand temporarily under the protection of the United Nations refugee agency, which was expected to take about five to seven days to study her case and her claim for asylum. She later barricaded herself in the hotel room, blocking the door with a mattress.

"She will be deported back to the State of Kuwait where her family live".

Social media helps "spread the word" of these cases, human rights lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman - who has worked on both the Alaraibi and Qunun cases - told AFP, and is making authorities "more careful about their actions".

Alqunun says she is fleeing abuse by her family and wants asylum in Australia.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun ran away from home over claims her parents beat her, locked her away for months and threatened her - just for cutting her hair.

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.

"Thai immigration had to deny her entry", he said, describing such cases as standard procedure. "They need to go to the airport".

Another official told a Saudi-owned TV channel that Qunun's father had contacted the mission for "help" in bringing her back. "My father just arrived as I heard witch [sic] anxious and scared me a lot and I want to go to another country that I seek asylum in. I don't think she'll be truly safe until she reaches a third country".

"She does not wish to go back and we will not force her. But we will provide assistance nonetheless", he said.

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While the Saudi Embassy in Thailand denies Saudi authorities are involved in attempts to stop Alqunun from traveling to Australia, the kingdom has in the past forcibly returned citizens home.

It also shows the limits of reforms being pushed by Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as he struggles to fix damage to his reputation after the grisly killing three months ago of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul. "The embassy considers this issue a family matter", it said in a post on Twitter.

Qunun said she fled Kuwait while her family was visiting the Gulf country and had planned to travel on from Thailand to Australia to seek asylum.

Thailand's immigration police chief says the father of the young Saudi woman who is trapped in Bangkok after being stopped en route to seeking asylum in Australia is supposed to arrive in Thailand on Monday night. "We will take care of her as best as we can". Once there, she got on a plane to Thailand, hoping to travel from there to Australia. Does she still hold concerns about her situation there in Thailand? "They will take me to Saudi Arabia and my father will kill me, because he is so angry", she added.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait", Qunun told Reuters by text and voice message from a Bangkok transit hotel late on Sunday.

"They will kill me", she said. "This should be the standard for any individual who claims that his or her life is in danger".

"She was over-exaggerating. She fled her family from Saudi Arabia and arrived in Thailand, but she didn't have necessary documents to enter".

The teenager, who escaped from her family in Kuwait while they vacationed there, has said she will be killed if she was returned.

The ultra-conservative kingdom has some of the world's toughest restrictions on women, including a guardianship system that allows male family members to make decisions on behalf of female relatives.

An airline security official reported seeing her dragged out of the airport with her mouth, hands, and feet bound with duct tape.


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