Saudi woman fleeing family won’t be deported, say Thai officials


An 18-year-old woman detained in Thailand after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing Islam will not be sent back to the Middle East against her wishes, Thai officials have said. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun barricaded herself inside a transit zone hotel room in Bangkok airport to prevent immigration officials putting her on a flight to Kuwait. She was denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia, where she has a three-month multiple-entry tourist visa and said she was intending to seek asylum.

Qunun says she would be killed if she was returned to Saudi Arabia and has vowed not to leave the hotel room until she can see representatives from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.“I am Rahaf … I am in the hotel, I need a country to protect me as soon as possible. I am seeking asylum,” Qunun said in a video posted on social media.Samut Prakan, the head of Thailand’s immigration bureau, said: “If deporting her would result in her death, we definitely wouldn’t want to do that.” Qunun would speak to UNHCR representatives later on Monday, he added.(theguardian)…[+]