Rahaf al-Qunun: UNHCR 'grateful' Saudi woman not deported

Rahaf al-Qunun: UNHCR 'grateful' Saudi woman not deported

Rahaf al-Qunun: UNHCR 'grateful' Saudi woman not deported

SOPHIE MCNEILL: It became very clear at about nine o'clock in the morning Bangkok time that they would do everything they could to get her on that 11:15am flight on Kuwait Airways, because that was where she had travelled from, and the threat was she would go back to Saudi Arabia from there because she does have family in Kuwait and has spent time there too. "This should be the standard for any individual who claims that his or her life is in danger".

The teenager is the daughter of Saudi government official Mohammed Alqunun who has arrived in Bangkok to bring her home.

Rahaf just send me this, she just wants you to make sure she is on the hotel, and she still needs help and protection. "We did not send her back to die", he said on Facebook.

Ms. Alqunun described a life of unrelenting abuse at the hands of her family, who live in the city of Hail, in northern Saudi Arabia.

Photos released Monday night by immigration police showed Alqunun with Thai and United Nations officials after she left the airport transit hotel room where she had been holed up over the weekend, sending her pleas for help on her Twitter account. He said he will discuss allowing them to see her later Monday.

She says she will be killed if she is made to return to the kingdom, where women are subjected to anachronistic social restrictions, including under strict "male guardianship" practices. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun had travelled to Thailand from Kuwait, where she had been holidaying with her family.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has been under heavy scrutiny since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi previous year.

She departed from Kuwait, bound for Australia, while the family were traveling.

Thailand's Immigration Police Chief, Surachet Hakpal, has also confirmed al-Qunun is safe from deportation. "She won't be sent anywhere tonight", Surachate said at a news conference.

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Alqunun is barricaded in an airport hotel room and has been pleading to talk to the United Nations officials.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun tweeted that her father had arrived, "which anxious and scared me a lot", but said she felt safe "under UNHCR protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities".

Ms Qunun told a Thai human rights worker her family kept her in her room for six months because she cut her hair.

Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn told reporters that Qunun's father and brother had arrived in Thailand on Tuesday.

Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun is greeted by Thai immigration authorities at a hotel inside Suvarnabhumi.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunan barricaded herself in a hotel room at an global airport in Bangkok, Thailand to avoid deportation. If the UNHCR declared her a refugee, Alqunun said she would like to be granted a humanitarian visa in Australia, Britain or Canada. "Thai authorities should immediately halt any deportation, and either allow her to continue her travel to Australia or permit her to remain in Thailand to seek protection as a refugee".

Ms Qunun said she was being held at an airport hotel by diplomatic and airline staff, despite having a visa to travel to Australia.

Human Rights Watch's Australian director Elaine Pearson says since Australia has expressed concern in the past about women's rights in Saudi Arabia, it should "come forward and offer protection for this young woman". "They will take me to Saudi Arabia and my father will kill me, because he is so angry", she added. She had tried to escape before but had failed and her family were now extra vigilant, monitoring her every move, removing all her electronic devices so she could not communicate with the outside the world.

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