Thai police say they won't deport Saudi woman barricaded in hotel room


In case they wished to speak to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the 18-year-old Saudi girl who ran away from her family during their trip to Kuwait, it would be up to the girl, Pol LtGeneral Surachet Hakparn said. On Twitter, she has expressed fear of such a meeting.

"My life is in danger. I know them. They kept telling me they will kill me if I do something wrong - they say that since I was a child".

They deny acting at the request of the Saudi government.

Thailand's immigration police chief met Tuesday with officials of the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok, and said the officials told him they are satisfied with how Alqunan's case has been handled. "There's a security guard watching me", she said in the video.

Abuse by her family was one of the reasons Qunun cited for fleeing. "We will not send anyone to die", he added.

Saudi diplomats are due to meet with Maj Gen Surachate on Tuesday, when he said he would explain the decision to grant her temporary accommodation.

UNHCR has been following developments closely and immediately sought access from the Thai authorities to meet with Ms. Mohammed Al-qunun, 18, to assess her need for worldwide protection.

Thailand is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and provides no legal protection to asylum seekers although there are more than 100,000 refugees in the country.

In a video message posted to social media today, Ms Alqunun said she would continue the barricade.

How did the stand-off start?

She landed at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok where someone took her passport, assuring her of getting a visa for Thailand.

Though refugee status would mean a different form of visa would be needed, Pearson said Australia's apparent cancellation of Alqunun's tourist visa was a worrying sign.

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Asked why she was seeking refuge in Australia, she said: "Physical, emotional and verbal abuse and being imprisoned inside the house for months".

That's when the teen took to social media.

In a tweet Ms al-Qunun said: 'I have been detained in an airport hotel.

They need permission from a male relative to obtain a passport and travel overseas.

The 18-year-old identified herself as Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Al-Qunun on an unverified Twitter account. She was in the Bangkok airport, about to be deported to her home country, and was pleading for help.

Why are there fears for her welfare?

He has said she will not be forcibly sent back to Saudi Arabia.

Freedom of religion is not legally protected in the kingdom, and people who convert to another religion from Islam risk being charged with apostasy - or abandoning their religious beliefs. A friend of al-Qunun's told the BBC that she believes al-Qunun's father works for the Saudi government.

"If the visa has been cancelled it would be very concerning", she told the Guardian.

"She is terrified", she said. The country's immigration office confirmed that it is not sending her back to Saudi Arabia just yet.

He appealed to Saudi and Thai officials not to follow through with their initial plan to send Aqunun back to Kuwait on Monday.

It also shows the limits of reforms being pushed by Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as he struggles to fix damage to his reputation after the grisly killing three months ago of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.