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Finally, Saudi teenager gets asylum in Australia

Bangkok: After several protests by human rights groups, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman, who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family, has been granted asylum in Australia on Friday, a Thai immigration official said.

Rahaf gets asylum in Australia

"Yes, Australia has granted her asylum, but we are waiting to hear where exactly she is going," media reported quoting Thailand immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn.

Canada had also offered Rahaf asylum and they were waiting for her decision, Hakparn informed.

Hakparn said Qunun, who is staying in an undisclosed location in Bangkok, would be leaving Thailand "almost as soon as the final decision is made".

"We are providing necessary security for her," the immigration officer said..

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has not commented on the development yet.

What has happened so far

  • al-Qunun fled her home in Saudi Arabia claiming her abusive family threatened to kill her. She landed in Thailand.
  • The teenager refused to board a flight to the Middle East on Monday.
  • Later, al-Qunun barricaded herself in a hotel room at Bangkok's main airport.
  • She posted photographs of self as well as her passport on Twitter and said she was seeking refugee status from any country that would protect me from getting harmed or killed due to leaving my religion and torture from my family.
  • She was kept under the protection of the office of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, after being allowed into Thailand on Monday.

  • She had been holed up in a Bangkok airport hotel for two days, refusing to leave until she got the assurance that she would not be sent back to her parents.
  • Thai police agreed that she would not be sent back against her will.
Also Read: Taking a child bride to the US is not all that difficult

What Saudi officials has said

Saudi officials said they have had nothing to do with the case of al-Qunun, are not demanding her return, and that the controversy is strictly a family matter.

What Thai police had said

Hakparn said, the woman's father and brother wanted to meet her. But, she refused to meet her parents.



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