#SaveRahaf: Activists' lightning campaign made Saudi teen's flight a global cause

Rahaf al-Qunun: Dad of Saudi refugee arrives in Bangkok Thailand | Daily Star

Ms Qunun is now in the care of the UN's refugee agency in Bangkok, which is processing her case.

Ms Alqunun was detained by Thai authorities at Bangkok airport when she arrived for a connecting flight to Australia and threatened with repatriation after she fled on a family holiday to Kuwait.

Surachet will act as a mediator in their talks with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives, Surachet said.

Qunun, however, was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti immigration officials during transit at Bangkok International Airport.

As for providing security in light of Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he said "that's the Thai government's job and I hope that's being looked into".

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

Ms Qunun's desperate tweets ricocheted across social media with the #SaveRahaf hashtag drawing an outpouring of support but also the criticism of some hardliners in her native country.

A Saudi woman's ongoing bid to flee her country via Thailand this week threw the kingdom's male guardianship system into the worldwide limelight, setting in motion a showdown between Saudi Arabia's restrictions on women and the United Nations' asylum process. However, in repeated statements, including one issued Tuesday, the Saudi Embassy in Thailand has said it is only monitoring her situation. The said both countries had the same aim, the safety of the girl, with the diplomat saying that he was satisfied with Thailand's decisions on the matter.

"The father is now here in Thailand and that's a source of concern".

Instead, they confirmed she would have been refused entry to Australia as the visa was not reflective of her intended stay in the country. Surachate said that UNHCR, "will take five days to consider her status" and another five days to arrange for travel.




The Australian director of Human Rights Watch Australia, Elaine Pearson, said the extraordinary circumstances around Qunun's case should be taken into account.

In case she wished to apply for a visa on arrival to enter Thailand, al-Qunun should prove she had an onward flight, the general said. "I only gave her my business card in case she needed anything or had any questions", he said.

Apostasy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

After public pressure, Alqunun got her passport back.

Qunun said sending her back would likely result in imprisonment and was "sure 100%" that her own family would k‌i‌ll her."My family is strict and locked me in a room for six months just for cutting my hair", she revealed.Robertson said Qunun's renouncement of Islam also puts her, "at serious risk of prosecution by the Saudi Arabian government".

She then barricaded herself in a hotel room at the airport as Thai authorities were trying to hand her over to her family.

Thai officials confiscated the 18-year-old's passport when she flew into Bangkok.

Under Saudi Arabia's harsh male guardianship laws, women have no independent rights.

Gen. Surachate Hakparn said in a statement that Al-Qunun's father and brother were due to arrive in Thailand today but that it was her right to decide whether to talk to them or not.

Video footage posted on Twitter by a Saudi human rights activist appeared to show a Saudi official complaining that Thai authorities should have confiscated Qunun's smartphone.

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