BANGKOK — An 18-year-old Saudi runaway who feared demise by the hands of her household if she had been deported house from Thailand left for Canada on Friday, Thai officers stated.
The Thai immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, a police basic, stated Canada had granted asylum to the girl, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun. His assertion was not instantly confirmed by Canadian officers.
She boarded a flight to Seoul late Friday night and from there was scheduled to fly to Toronto, stated Mr. Surachate.
The occasions signaled a exceptional reversal in Ms. Alqunun’s fortunes from lower than every week in the past when she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport lodge room to keep away from being despatched again.
She escaped from her household in Kuwait final Saturday and flew to Thailand. After being denied entry into the nation, she rallied assist on Twitter to keep away from being deported, saying she feared her family would possibly kill her if she had been returned to them.
The 48-hour standoff at Suvarnabhumi Airport drew world consideration by way of a social media marketing campaign mounted by Ms. Alqunun from the lodge room, in addition to by buddies and supporters.
Ms. Alqunun’s authentic vacation spot had been Australia, the place she hoped to affix different girls who’ve fled Saudi Arabia, a patriarchal society the place male relations can management even the smallest particulars of a lady’s life.
Each Canada and Australia interviewed Ms. Alqunun as a part of the refugee placement course of, she stated. The ultimate choice on the place to ship her was as much as the United Nations refugee company, which granted her refugee standing earlier within the week.
Her case acquired unusually fast consideration by the Thai authorities, the United Nations refugee company, also called UNHCR, and Canadian and Australian officers. Many asylum seekers wait years for placement in a rustic as soon as they’re accepted as refugees by the United Nations company.
After Thai officers agreed on Monday to let Ms. Alqunun depart the airport, they had been wanting to have her case settled rapidly in order that she may depart for no matter nation agreed to just accept her.
Complicating issues, her father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday. In Saudi Arabia, girls should not allowed to journey with out a male guardian.
The daddy met with immigration and refugee company officers to make the case that Ms. Alqunun ought to be returned to him. He argued that she wanted medical therapy and ought to be beneath his household’s care. Ms. Alqunun refused to see them.
She stated earlier in an interview that her brother had usually crushed her, and that her household as soon as locked her in a room for six months as a result of she minimize her hair in a manner they didn’t like.
The immigration chief, Normal Surachate, met with the daddy, whom he declined to call however recognized as a provincial governor in Saudi Arabia. He advised reporters that Ms. Alqunun’s father had denied abusing her.
“Her father stated that his daughter may need felt uncared for as a result of he has 10 kids,” the immigration chief stated. “After all, it’s regular that folks fear about their little one. However for the reason that daughter requested to be beneath the care of UNHCR, we’ve got to respect her request.”
Thailand has moved extra slowly within the case of Hakeem al-Araibi, a star soccer participant from Bahrain who spoke out towards a robust official there and later fled the nation. He was accepted as a refugee and granted asylum in Australia.
However in November, Mr. Araibi was arrested in Bangkok on a warrant from Bahrain when he arrived to go on his honeymoon. He has been detained since then and is preventing extradition to Bahrain. He fears that he could be tortured if he had been returned.
Thailand has rejected calls from rights advocates and requests from the Australian authorities to free him.
In a publish on Twitter, Ms. Alqunun referred to as for Mr. Araibi’s launch and his return to Australia. Later, buddies posted that Ms. Alqunun had closed her Twitter account as a result of she was receiving demise threats.