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Saudi teen who escaped abusive family is on her way to Canada – New York Post - http://www.straittalk.co.za | make money online

January 11, 2019 8:18 pm
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An 18-year-old Saudi asylum-seeker who fled to Thailand, saying she feared her family would kill her, was expected to leave Bangkok on Friday night and fly to Canada, the head of the Thai immigration police said.

Police Chief Surachate Hakparn said Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who earlier sought asylum in Australia, will board a Korean Air flight to Seoul, where she will take a connecting flight to Canada.

Canada has granted her asylum,” Surachate told Reuters. “She’ll leave tonight at 11:15 p.m.”

Canadian authorities said they could not confirm that the young woman had been granted asylum in the country.

“We have nothing new to add on this right now,” said a spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, but a source told The Globe and Mail that she was headed to Canada.

The source, who was not authorized to speak about Canada’s role in Qunun’s case, said the government would not make any public comment until it was assured that she was safely in the country.

It was unclear why Qunun decided to seek asylum in Canada after initially expressing a desire to live Down Under.

She arrived in Bangkok on Saturday and was initially denied entry at the airport, where she barricaded herself in a hotel room during a 48-hour stand-off in which she amassed a large following on Twitter.

She was eventually allowed to enter the country and has been processed as a refugee by the UN Refugee Agency.

Qunun, who has accused her family of abuse, has refused to meet her father and brother, who arrived in Bangkok to try to take her back to Saudi Arabia.

She said she has been subjected to physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her family in Saudi Arabia, where she was once locked in her room for six months for cutting her hair.

Earlier Friday, Australia was assessing a request to resettle Qunun, but hours after tweeting that she had “some good news and some bad news,” Thai authorities said she was set to board the flight to Canada.

After posting her last message, she deactivated her Twitter account.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told BuzzFeed News that Qunun suspended her account because of some “very nasty, very real death threats.”

Canada’s apparent decision to accept Qunun could further upset its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

In August, Riyadh expelled Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador after Canada’s foreign ministry tweeted support for the arrests of women’s rights activists.

Qunun’s case has highlighted the cause of women’s rights in the repressive kingdom. Several women fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and returned home.

With Post wires

 
 

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