Saudi asylum-seeker refuses to meet father: Thai police

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun

Qunun was detained on arrival at Bangkok and denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia, where she said she meant to seek asylum.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR referred her case to Australia for her possible resettlement as a refugee, Australia's Department of Home Affairs said in a statement to CNN.

The teenager has renounced Islam and wrote of being in "real danger" if forced to return to her family under pressure from Saudi authorities and has claimed she could be killed.

According to 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, she fled from her family during a trip to Kuwait to escape the physical and psychological a‌b‌us‌e she received from them.

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

At about 1am on Monday morning, Ms Qunun posted a video of herself pushing a table to barricade her hotel room door.

"The government will be making no further comment on this matter", the Department said.

Australian officials have hinted that Alqunun's request is likely to succeed.

Qunun's father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday evening and have asked to see her.

The Australian government will consider any application for asylum lodged by Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a fugitive Saudi woman in Thailand, it says.

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She only joined the social media site at the start of this month but has quickly racked up more than 100,000 followers. Her Twitter account, created on January 6, soared to over 109,000 followers and #SaveRahaf was a trending hashtag. But the Thai government has also said that it wants to protect refugees, and immigration officials have said they do not intend to send al-Qunun back.

The young Saudi woman who captivated the world with her harrowing tweets claiming abuse has been granted refugee status by the United Nations. Surachate said that police could not confiscate her phone because she was not being detained and said that the Saudi diplomat's remark was "just an opinion" and "nothing to be taken seriously".

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", Pearson said. She had meant to flee to Australia.

Amnesty International said in a statement that Alqunun's case had inspired millions and should remind people of the bravery and sacrifices of people who flee their native lands for safety. After mounting a campaign for assistance on Twitter, she was allowed to temporarily stay in Thailand under the care of the United Nations refugee agency, which ruled her claim for asylum valid.

He said the father denied physically abusing his daughter or trying to force her into an arranged marriage.

But denied entry on arrival at Bangkok's main airport this weekend she took to Twitter with an account apparently created as a crisis response route and managed by her and supporters.

"When it became clear that she wasn't going to leave, I decided it was important to stay and have someone documenting what was going on", Ms McNeill said.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has come under intense scrutiny since the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in October.

Initially, Thai authorities said Qunun would be sent back to Saudi Arabia.

"Foreign governments, including Australia, that are concerned about human rights should be doubling down and offering support", Pearson said. However, Immigration Minister David Coleman is "very likely" to grant asylum if the 18-year-old passes all checks.

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