Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Saudi Arabia denies requesting extradition of woman in Thailand: embassy

Teen Locks Herself in Room After Fleeing Allegedly Abusive Family Rahaf al-Qunun: Dad of Saudi refugee arrives in Bangkok Thailand | Daily Star
Leonard Rios | 09 January, 2019, 11:09

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who arrived in Bangkok, Thailand from Kuwait late Saturday after slipping away from her family, is also asking for help from the United States, Australia and United Kingdom.

The first message from Ms Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, in Arabic, was posted at 3.20am Thai time from the transit area of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

However, there has so far been no evidence her life is in actual danger.

Within hours, a campaign sprung up on Twitter, spread by a loose network of activists around the world.

She told The Daily Mail, "When I came to Thailand someone told me that he will help me to get a visa for Thailand in the airport".

They later entered her hotel room and took her into United Nations protection.

A group called the Secret Sisterhood has set up a GoFundMe page to raise cash for Qunun once she is resettled in another country. The arrival "scared me a lot", she said Monday on Twitter.

Australian officials have strongly hinted that Ms Qunun's request will be accepted.

On 7 January, Rahaf finally exited the airport escorted by the UNHCR in Thailand. "We are in close contact with partners about her situation". "She very clearly stated that she was unhappy with Islam".

Australian Government sources said Alqunun would be refused entry on the tourist visa because it did not reflect the real reason for her trip. "If I go back to Saudi Arabia, I will be dead".

The UN's refugee agency said on Tuesday it was investigating the case of the teenager.

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"I'd never spoken to her before", she told Reuters.

The Saudi government has denied claims it sent officials to bring Ms Alqunun back to the kingdom. She continued tweeting and also corresponding with Mr Robertson of Human Rights Watch. She was reportedly taken to a detention center in the Saudi capital and little more regarding her location or condition is known.

"She filmed these two people talking to her", said Mr Robertson. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, told reporters Tuesday that Saudi diplomats told him they were satisfied with how her case had been handled.

Ms McNeill arrived in Thailand early on Monday and managed to join Ms Qunun in her hotel room. We have no idea what he is going to do ... whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her. And if all else failed and she was forced on the Kuwait Airways jet, an activist in India was ready with a "bomb scare" tweet to stop the flight from leaving.

"They will kill me", she said.

The flight to Kuwait City left without Ms Qunun.

Its latest statement, which described Qunun's case as a "family affair", said Saudi Arabia did not demand her deportation back home.

He said United Nations officials expect that the case will be concluded in a few days.

Thailand is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and provides no legal protection to asylum seekers, although there are more than 100,000 refugees in the country.

She said she would be imprisoned or worse if she was sent back to Saudi Arabia, telling Human Rights Watch she was fleeing abuse from her family, including beatings and death threats from male relatives, who forced her to remain in her room for six months for cutting her hair. In a video clip of the meeting released by Thai immigration police, Alsheaiby is heard telling Thai officials: "From the moment she arrived, she opened a new account and her followers reached nearly 45,000 in a day".

"Her time in Thailand is uncertain and while it's positive that she has access to UNHCR and her case is being reviewed, we know that the Thai authorities have kept other individuals and those who've sought asylum in reprimand, in detention, waiting for long periods of time to be granted asylum", she said. "And I would have preferred it better if her phone was taken instead of her passport".

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