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Australia to ‘carefully consider’ Saudi woman’s asylum plea

Australia to ‘carefully consider’ Saudi woman’s asylum plea”

Al-Qunun said that on landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand, she had her passport confiscated and had been "held" by Saudi embassy officials. "My life is in danger".

The teenager is the daughter of Saudi government official Mohammed Alqunun who has arrived in Bangkok to bring her home.

"You are the real power help me to send my message, I need PROTECTION", she tweeted Tuesday afternoon, adding the hashtag #savemylife. "We will not send someone back to die", said the Thai immigration chief, Major General Surachate Hakparn, according to the New York Times.

In April 2007, another Saudi woman fleeing her family was forced to return to her country while she was in transit in the Philippines.

Gen. Surachate Hakparn, said at a news conference at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where Alqunun is staying, that he would meet with United Nations refugee officials to discuss allowing them to see her later Monday. She said she had been beaten and male relatives had threatened to kill her.

Her pleas for asylum have also brought global attention to the obstacles women face in Saudi Arabia under male guardianship laws, which require that women, regardless of their age, have the consent of a male relative - usually a father or husband - to travel, obtain a passport or marry.

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A copy of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun's passport, which she says was removed from her when she landed in Thailand.

Over the past couple of years, I have spoken with journalist friends to see if we could write about the phenomena but Saudi, the UAE and other Arab countries seem to have been given a pass by Western democracies where human rights abuses, especially against women, were concerned.

She said she was detained after leaving her plane in Bangkok and told she would be sent back to Kuwait. A Saudi diplomat had reportedly seized it when she flew into Thailand from Kuwait on Saturday. "The key thing is she should not be sent back to Saudi Arabia, she should not be sent back into harm's way".

"It could take several days to process the case and determine next steps", Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR's Thailand representative, said in a statement.

Fearful: Rohaf Mohammed Alqunun was expected to meet her father in Thailand after she fled her family, saying she would be killed for renouncing Islam.

"She has a valid Australian visa", he said. To avoid being deported on a Kuwait Airlines flight destined for Saudi Arabia, she barricaded herself inside the room and demanded to speak to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

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"It is a very distressing position she is in", Senator Wong said. "She had a passport but no return ticket, no travel plan, and no destination or hotel reservation in per airport security procedures, immigration denied her entry".

Thai officials denied Alqunun entry there while she was traveling to Australia on a three-month multiple-entry tourist visa.

Over the course of the last 48 hours, Alqunun live-tweeted her attempt to not be forced back to Saudi Arabia.

The Human Rights Watch Australian director, Elaine Pearson, urged the federal government to clarify Qunun's visa status. Legally, Saudi women must have a male guardian to function within their society, making it hard for them to escape abusive situations from male family members or husbands.

She is now staying in Bangkok with her application for refugee status being processed by UNHCR before she can seek asylum in a third country.

"She was over-exaggerating. She fled her family from Saudi Arabia and arrived in Thailand, but she didn't have necessary documents to enter".

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