Saudi teen barricades herself in Thai hotel to stop being returned to family

Rights group urges Thailand not to return Saudi woman fleeing family

Saudi teen barricades herself in Thai hotel to stop being returned to family

BANGKOK/DUBAI (Reuters) – An 18-year-old Saudi lady fleeing her family barricaded herself inside of a Thai airport hotel on Monday, refusing to permit immigration officers to escort her on to a flight to Kuwait and announcing she fears her family will kill her.

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Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi lady who claims to be fleeing her nation and family, speaks in a room in Bangkok, Thailand, January 6, 2019, in this nonetheless symbol taken from a video acquired from social media. @rahaf84427714/by way of REUTERS

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun has been at Bangkok airport since Saturday when she was once denied access through Thai immigration officers, who deny her accusations that she was once detained on the request of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry denied her allegations that its embassy had confiscated her passport, announcing in a Tweet she was once stopped on the airport for violating Thai immigration regulations.

Qunun posted a video on Twitter on Monday of her barricading her hotel door with a desk and a bed.

Qunun advised Reuters she fled Kuwait whilst her family was once visiting the Gulf nation and had deliberate to trip from Thailand to Australia to search asylum. She mentioned she was once detained after leaving her airplane in Bangkok and advised she can be despatched again to Kuwait.

“My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait,” Qunun mentioned through textual content and voice message from the hotel on Sunday.

“They will kill me,” she mentioned. “My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things.”

Asked why she was once searching for shelter in Australia, she mentioned: “Physical, emotional and verbal abuse and being imprisoned inside of the home for months. They threaten to kill me and save you me from proceeding my training.

“They received’t let me pressure or trip. I’m oppressed. I like lifestyles and paintings and I’m very bold however my family is fighting me from residing.”


Her family may just no longer in an instant be reached for remark. In her preliminary social media pleas, Qunun mentioned her family was once tough in Saudi society however she didn’t determine them.

Saudi tradition and guardianship coverage calls for ladies to have permission from a male family member to paintings, trip, marry, or even get some scientific remedy. The deeply conservative Muslim nation lifted a ban on ladies drivers final yr.

Thai immigration government mentioned Qunun was once refused access as a result of she didn’t have the correct paperwork.

“We have contacted Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry in order to send her back to her country of origin,” Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan advised newshounds. “She will not be sent to a third country because we don’t have the authority to do so.”

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Bangkok mentioned it was once attempting to meet Qunun.

“UNHCR consistently advocates that refugees and asylum seekers … cannot be returned to their countries of origin according to the principle of non-refoulement, which prevents states from expelling or returning persons to a territory where their life or freedom would be threatened,” it mentioned in a commentary.

New York-based Human Rights Watch mentioned Thailand must no longer ship Qunun again to her family as a result of she says she faces risk.

Qunun mentioned she had acquired an Australian visa and booked a flight. She mentioned she had deliberate to spend a couple of days in Thailand so she would no longer spark suspicion when she left Kuwait.

“When I landed at the airport, someone came and said he would process the (Thai) visa but he took my passport. He came back with what seemed to be airport security and said that my parents objected and said I must return to Saudi Arabia via Kuwait Airways,” she mentioned.

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Slideshow (five Images)

She mentioned she believed she was once stopped after her family appealed to Kuwait Airways. A spokesman for Kuwait Airways mentioned he had no details about the case.

Thai immigration leader Surachate Hakparn mentioned Qunun was once denied access as a result of she didn’t have a paid go back price ticket or hotel reservation.

“She was over-exaggerating… She fled her family from Saudi Arabia and arrived in Thailand but she didn’t have necessary documents to enter. Thai immigration had to deny her entry,” he mentioned, describing such motion as same old process.

Reporting through Patpicha Tanakasempipat in BANGKOK; Additional reporting through Ghaida Ghantous in DUBAI, Panu Wongcha-um in BANGKOK; Editing through Nick Macfie


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