Asylum assessment of Saudi teenager in Thailand to take days

A Saudi woman held at Suvarnabhumi airport in Thailand said she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials. — Reuters pic

She said she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officials when she arrived at the Thai capital's Suvarnabhumi airport and her travel document was forcibly taken from her, a claim backed by HRW.

The United Nations' refugee agency says it has been in contact with the young Saudi woman who is trapped in Bangkok en route to seeking asylum in Australia after claiming to have fled her family fearing for her life.

The embassy - and Thai officials - earlier also said that Alqunun was stopped by Thai authorities in Bangkok because she did not have a return ticket, a hotel reservation or itinerary to show she was a tourist, which appeared to have raised a red flag about the reasons for her trip.

"I cannot flee the airport, I've tried but couldn't".

"They will kill me", she said. She later barricaded herself in the hotel room, blocking the door with a mattress. "I want asylum", al-Qunun added.

"Angkhana Neelapaijit, a National Human Rights Commissioner, said al-Qunun must be allowed to meet with UNHCR officials to determine if she warrants asylum status". However, Surachet Hakpal, chief of the Immigration Bureau, later confirmed to CNN that the teenager did not board the flight as planned.

The flight left Bangkok without her.

With the help of human rights advocates, she posted videos and launched a social media campaign to raise awareness to her plight.

HRW's Australian director Elaine Pearson said 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".

"UNHCR consistently advocates that refugees and asylum seekers-having been confirmed or claimed to be in need of worldwide protection-cannot be returned to their countries of origin according to the principle of non-refoulement", she wrote on Twitter.

NASA says faraway world Ultima Thule shaped like 'snowman'
The first color image of Ultima Thule , far left, was taken at a distance of 85,000 miles and highlights the object's red color. The team determined its colour by combining a sharp black and white image with a less-defined, but coloured, photograph.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun ran away from home over claims her parents beat her, locked her away for months and threatened her - just for cutting her hair. "She won't be sent anywhere tonight", Surachate said at a news conference at the airport where Alqunun is stuck.

Ms Qunun said she was being held at an airport hotel by diplomatic and airline staff, despite having a visa to travel to Australia. Ms Rahaf said her family was powerful in Saudi society but she did not identify them.Saudi culture and guardianship policy requires women to have permission from a male relative to work, travel, marry, and even get some medical treatment.

Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun will be allowed to meet United Nations refugee officials. Then Thai authorities said she didn't meet the requirements for a Thai visa.

"In order to enter our country, she must comply with our regulations ..."

What happens to women forced back to Saudi Arabia? "We will not do that", he said.

In addition to facing punishment for "moral" crimes, women can also become the target of "honour killings" at the hands of their families, activists say.

Thai immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn said he had been tipped off about Alqunun by Saudi officials who said she was a runaway, reported BBC.

Although Thai immigration officials initially attempted to return the young women to her family in the Middle East, they have since vowed to allow her to stay. He said the Saudi Embassy has no authority to stop anyone at the airport and that such a decision would rest with Thai officials.

For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are nearly always trying to escape male relatives. Shuaibi denied that the embassy had withdrawn her passport.

Related News:



Most liked

Attorney general nominee says he won't fire special counsel: Graham
Barr was spending most of Wednesday on Capitol Hill, meeting senators on the committee before his confirmation hearing next week. Graham, the incoming chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Barr would interfere with Mueller's investigation.

Day adds 2nd Michigan coach to Ohio State staff
Though Ohio State fans would gladly remind you that the Buckeyes put up 62 points in a 23-point win in November. Schiano had coordinated defenses at Ohio State since 2016 after a three years away from college and the NFL .

Sears Holdings Likely Heading to Liquidation
Under changes in the bid reached in negotiations, he will have until Wednesday afternoon to make a $120 million cash payment. Retail expert Burt Flickinger discusses how Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert is trying to buy the company out of bankruptcy.

Eagles actually blocked Cody Parkey's double-boink kick
He launched his first try, successfully splitting the uprights, but the Eagles called a timeout, negating the game-winning kick. Parkey was mercilessly booed off the field after the kick double-boinked off the uprights.

Lakers' fingers being pointed everywhere without LeBron James
The Los Angeles Lakers are averaging 112.3 points on 47.4 percent shooting and allowing 111.4 points on 44.6 percent shooting. Dallas has been able to win at a high percentage at home while posting a strong record against the spread.

Kim visit to Xi possible summit prep
Professor Hazel Smith told the Business Insider it was "not very surprising" that the country was not marking Kim's birthday. He would go on to urge the world to spread information in North Korea to undermine Mr Kim's status among his people.

Arsenal linked with Juventus defender as part of Ramsey deal
Juventus have confirmed they are interested in signing Aaron Ramsey this summer. "We will only sign players who give us quality". It's going to be unusual to see Aaron Ramsey out of an Arsenal shirt and it looks as if Juventus will be his next destination.

LG's new ThinQ TVs support Apple AirPlay, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
There's a range of smart speakers like the Google Home line and third-party devices from JBL, Sony, Panasonic, LG, and more. AI voice assistants are expected to dominate this year's CES , with smart homes fast becoming the norm in the US.

Samsung says Bixby will soon work with Google Maps, YouTube
The company apparently sold millions of Google Home devices over the holidays, with smart displays being the main standout. New Google Assistant features include natural conversation, multiple voice settings, and more smart home compatibility.

Chong proud after Manchester United debut
It ties the record of Matt Busby, who also won his first five games in charge in the 1946-47 season. Manchester United were headed to Dubai straight away after the match against Reading .

Trump considering former Democratic Senator Webb for defense secretary
Summers, Jr. tweeted, "It was a great day leading the highly talented team at the Office of Secretary of Defense-Public Affairs". Expressing happiness over Shanahan's appointment, acting assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Charles E.

Unstoppable James Harden stuns Warriors in overtime
Yesterday I was in that same spot shooting the same shots", Harden said. "I shoot my step-backs with confidence and live with the results".

House votes to end shutdown despite White House veto threat
Eight of the 11 freshman Democrats who voted against Pelosi are male and all of them are white. That cleared the way for a vote expected later in the evening on passage.

Apple to Miss Sales Expectations, Dow takes a Hit
Last month, President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to 90-day ceasefire as a step toward defusing tensions. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank will be flexible with interest rates.

Liverpool shouldn’t panic after Manchester City defeat, insists Van Dijk
Manchester City's Leroy Sane scores their second goal against Liverpool, January 3, 2019. We want justice" he said on his petition. "We lost, but it's not the biggest problem".