Father of Saudi woman seeking asylum arrives in Thailand, wants meeting

Rahaf al-Qunun: Dad of Saudi refugee arrives in Bangkok Thailand | Daily Star

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok declined to comment on Ms Qunun's case when contacted by Reuters on Monday and could not be reached on Tuesday.

Alqunun's father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday evening and have asked to see her, but Alqunun has refused to meet them.

Different government have also expressed their concern to Rahaf's situation and the Australian government is keen on closely monitor the situation.

In the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 6, Rahaf began tweeting for help: "I'm in real danger because the Saudi embassy trying to forcing (sic) me to go back to Saudi Arabia, while I'm at the airport waiting for my second flight", she tweeted to the world.

But she has said Saudi officials tried to trick her and surrounded the hotel room she had barricaded herself in, planning to force her back home, where she believes her family would try to kill her.

He said United Nations officials expect that the case will be concluded in a few days. Surachet said earlier that she was stopped at the request of her family who alerted the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok.

Upon arriving to Bangkok, she was met by a Saudi diplomat who seized her passport which meant that she does not meet the Thai visa requirements.

Australian national broadcaster ABC reported that the country's Home Affairs Department announced late Tuesday that it would consider al-Qunun's application for asylum if she was found to be a genuine refugee, and called on the Thai authorities and UNHCR to assess her claim as quickly as possible.

"The fact is, now that she has criticized Saudi Arabia, Islam, her family, and "shamed the nation"-there is every reason at this point to fear that she could be jailed for many years and be subject to human rights violations and torture", Stirling said in a statement".

It said it would "consider this referral in the usual way" as it does with all UNHCR referrals.

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Rahaf said she had been suffering beatings and emotional abuse from her family members according to media reports.

Canberra has hinted that it will likely grant her asylum.

Her case will now be referred to Australia for consideration.

She barricaded herself in a hotel room at Suvarnabhumi airport for two days, while sending out desperate pleas for help over social media.

While Surachate claimed Alqunun never had a visa to enter Australia, Human Rights Watch's Australian director, Elaine Pearson, said she had seen electronic confirmation of the visa, shown by Alqunun to HRW's Asia deputy director, Phil Robertson.

"Only she can make that choice, she's an adult woman who can make her own decisions!"

Thai immigration officials also said there was no record of an airline ticket onward, which should have allowed her to pass through Bangkok.

In case she wished to apply for a visa on arrival to enter Thailand, al-Qunun should prove she had an onward flight, the general said.

In a video of the meeting, Saudi charge d'affaires Abdalelah Mohammed Alshuaibi could be heard telling Thai officials through a translator: "She opened a Twitter account and her followers grew to 45,000 within one day. We will not send anyone to d‌i‌e", he was quoted as saying.

The latest incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny on Saudi Arabia over the shocking murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record.

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