Saudi teenager fears family will ‘kill her’ if she is sent back home from Bangkok

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Rahaf Mohammed M Alqunun stated she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officers when she arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport (AFP)

A Saudi girl held at Bangkok’s worldwide airport has stated she can be killed if she is repatriated by Thai immigration officers, who confirmed the 18-year-old was denied entry to the nation on Sunday.

Rahaf Mohammed M Alqunun instructed the AFP information company she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officers when she arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport and her journey doc was forcibly taken from her, a declare backed by Human Rights Watch.

“They took my passport,” she stated, including that her male guardian had reported her for travelling “with out his permission”.

Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phil Robertson slammed the Thai authorities and urged the UN refugee company to assist .

“What nation permits diplomats to wander across the closed part of the airport and seize the passports of the passengers?” he stated, including that there’s “impunity” throughout the household unit in Saudi Arabia to abuse ladies.

The incident comes towards the backdrop of intense scrutiny on Saudi Arabia over its investigation and dealing with of the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate final yr, which has renewed criticism of the dominion’s rights report.

Rahaf stated she was making an attempt to flee her household, who subjected her to bodily and psychological abuse.

“My household is strict and locked me in a room for six months only for slicing my hair,” she stated, including that she is definite she can be imprisoned if she is distributed again.

“I am positive 100 % they may kill me as quickly as I get out of the Saudi jail,” she stated.

‘Cannot escape’

Rahaf, who stated she was “scared” and “dropping hope,” was stopped from coming into Thailand when she flew in from Kuwait on Sunday, Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, instructed AFP.

“She had no additional paperwork akin to return ticket or cash,” he stated, including that Rahaf was at the moment in an airport resort.

“She ran away from her household to keep away from marriage, and he or she is worried she could also be in bother returning to Saudi Arabia. We despatched officers to handle her now,” he stated.

He added that Thai authorities had contacted the “Saudi Arabia embassy to coordinate”.

However Rahaf disputed his account, saying that she was solely in transit to hunt asylum in Australia, and was accosted by Saudi and Kuwaiti embassy representatives when she deplaned in Suvarnabhumi airport.

 

Rahaf took to Twitter to plead her case, making a profile with an Arabic bio that reads “I simply need to survive”.

Throughout a video livestream exhibiting her strolling round a carpeted hallway, Rahaf spoke in Arabic about how her father had instructed Saudi embassy officers she was a “psychiatric affected person” who needed to be returned, though she had “an Australian visa”.

“I can not escape the airport,” she stated within the dwell video. “I attempted however there is a safety [official] watching me.”

‘Household drawback’

Immigration chief Surachate stated Rahaf could be despatched again to Saudi Arabia by Monday morning.

“It is a household drawback,” he stated of the case.

Saudi Arabia has lengthy been attacked for imposing a number of the world’s hardest restrictions on ladies.

That features a guardianship system that enables males to train arbitrary authority to make selections on behalf of their feminine kin.

Along with dealing with punishment for “ethical” crimes, ladies can even change into the goal of “honour killings” by the hands of their households, activists say.

One other Saudi girl, Dina Ali Lasloom, was stopped in transit within the Philippines in April 2017 when she tried to flee her household.

An airline safety official instructed activists that Lasloom was heard “screaming and begging for assist” as males carried her “with duct tape on her mouth, ft and palms” on the airport.

The Saudi embassy in Thailand and officers in Riyadh couldn’t be reached for fast remark.

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