Rahaf al-Qunun says she was trying to flee to Australia when airport officials tried to deport her back to the Middle East
The 18-year-old Saudi teenager, Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Al-Qunun, was reportedly on vacation with her family in Kuwait when she ran away two days ago. She intended to go to Australia and seek asylum, but had a connection flight in Bangkok when a Saudi diplomat took possession of her passport.
The young woman states she does not want to go back to her family because they will punish her for sharing her story and pictures on social media, she can’t study or work in her country, and she wants to be free. Women in Saudi Arabia must have a male relative’s permission to work, travel, or marry, that is what she wants to escape.
She has now barricaded herself in an airport hotel in Bangkok refusing to leave for Kuwait at the request of the Saudi embassy and pleading for asylum. They apparently fabricated the story that she applied for a temporary visa in Thailand and was refused, when in fact she had a plane ticked for Australia, Thailand was just a connection.
Ms. Al-Qunun fears that if she is forced to return to Saudi Arabia she will be tortured or killed by her family for renouncing Islam. Also, Thai police officials stated that she was escaping a forced marriage and that this is a family matter.
She wants to speak to the UN refugee agency and claim asylum, she has even tweeted several pleas to President Donald Trump as well as to any government throughout the world that might be able to offer her asylum. While Human Rights officials asked Thai authorities to not allow her to be deported, but instead allow her to make a refugee claim with the United Nations refugee agency in Bangkok.