Saudi teen who barricaded herself in airport hotel granted asylum in Canada

Saudi teen who barricaded herself in airport hotel granted asylum in Canada

Thai officials said Friday evening that 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is en route to Toronto via Seoul, South Korea.

Her father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday, but Ms Qunun "refused to see" them, according to Thai Immigration Chief Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, who has been caught up in the global firestorm since Ms Qunun's arrival. "She'll leave tonight at 11:15pm".

Canadian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun is now staying in a Bangkok hotel under the care of the United Nation's refugee agency (UNHCR), which has been processing her application for refugee status ahead of possible resettlement in Australia.

In a widely followed social media (Twitter) campaign, the plucky 18 year old explained she had "escaped Kuwait" and her life would have been in danger if Thai authorities had deported her back to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Araibi's case is being considered by Thailand's justice system, she said.

Strict Saudi social rules typically require women to have permission from a male "guardian" to travel. Human rights activists say many similar cases have gone unreported.

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She meant to fly on to Australia, but barricaded herself in a hotel room in Bangkok's main airport on Sunday after Thai immigration officials attempted to deport her back to the Middle East.

Mr Trudeau said Canada would always help to defend human rights and the rights of women.

"We wish Ms Al-Qunun all the best for her future in Canada", he said.

Alqunun deactivated her Twitter account Friday.

The UNHCR granted al-Qunun legitimate refugee status and a number of countries - including Canada and Australia began talks to grant the teen asylum.

Her father has reportedly denied physically abusing her or trying to force her into an arranged marriage.

But just days after fleeing a powerful and allegedly abusive family in Saudi Arabia, al-Qunun has already been judged a legitimate refugee by the United Nations and been in contact with Australian officials in Bangkok about resettlement.

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Footage released by Thai immigration shows Abdulilah al-Shouaibi, Saudi embassy charge d'affaires in Bangkok, complaining in a meeting Tuesday with Gen Surachate that Ms Qunun's smartphone should have been confiscated.

She refused to fly back and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, attracting worldwide attention.

She was on her way to Australia when she was stopped by Thai authorities.

She said she meant to take a connecting flight to Australia - and had an Australian visa - but that her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat when he met her coming off the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport, leaving her stranded. She was admitted to Thailand on Monday while the United Nations processed her request.

Surachate described the father as being a governor in Saudi Arabia.

She said a Saudi diplomat met her at the airport when she arrived in Bangkok and tricked her into handing over her passport and ticket, saying he would secure a visa.

"I understand that there have been death threats against her but I don't know the details", said Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch, adding even threats from online trolls need to be taken seriously.

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"Australia too said it might offer sanctuary".

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