Saudi teen escapes family, trapped in Bangkok airport, seeks help
An 18-year-old Saudi Arabia teen has sought help from people across the globe and human rights organizations to prevent her deportation to Kuwait, as she fears for her life. In hopes to to reach Australia and get asylum, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun had escaped the Kingdom. But her plans went south when she was held at Bangkok airport by officials. She narrated her ordeal on social media.
Her documents have been seized, she claims
As soon as Rahaf reached Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, her passport was seized by Saudi Arabia's diplomatic staff. The teen claimed she had travel visa for Australia but wasn't allowed to board the plane. Instead, she was held in a hotel room by officials. From there, Rahaf shot a video and detailed the physical and psychological abuse she had to face back home.
Watch: Rahaf narrates her ordeal in video
Saudi woman, Rahaf al-Qunun, trapped in Bangkok - she fears her family will KILL her if she is returned.— Ex-Muslims of North America (@ExmuslimsOrg) January 7, 2019
She is being detained in the airport hotel! We need to make some noise.#SaveRahaf pic.twitter.com/tNxPsK5fFB
Rahaf's friend reveals she is safe (for now)
The teen was supposed to get on a Kuwait bound flight on Monday but latest reports suggest she wasn't sent back. Her friend, who is posting updates of her on social media, tweeted, "I have good news guys the plane is gone, and Rahaf is (safe) for now." Before the scheduled departure, Rahaf had said, "I'm shouting out for help of humanity (sic)."
Understanding why she escaped the Kingdom
Rahaf told a Thai Human Rights activist she was tortured by her kin after she renounced Islam. She was locked in her room for six months and beaten by her brother. The Kingdom has constantly drawn criticism for its chauvinistic laws, which allow a male relative to take decisions on behalf of a woman. Women need consent from male relatives before traveling too.
Amid brouhaha, Saudi officials say her parents sought their 'help'
While the case has turned attention towards the laws of the Kingdom, Abdulilah al-Shouaibi, of the Saudi embassy in Bangkok denied claims that Rahaf's passport was seized. He said her father sought 'help' from the officials in bringing her back and the officials paid attention to his request. In a statement, the embassy said she will be sent back to her family.
Human Rights' bodies give their support to Rahaf
Fortunately, Rahaf got support from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The body said asylum-seekers can't be deported to their countries if their life is in threat. They are trying to meet Rahaf and have contacted Thai authorities for the same, the statement read. Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch reminded Saudi's history of honor-killing incidents speaks for itself, hence Rahaf's concerns are genuine.