Saudi teen dodges Thai deportation bidAl-Qunun reportedly still in Bangkok despite attempt to force her onto flight to Kuwait as German embassy, HRW intervene
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, says she is fleeing domestic abuse and fears for her safety if forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia. (Photo supplied)
Robertson (@Reaproy) posted another tweet on his Twitter account around noon (Thai time) claiming the flight had left without Al-Qunun. He also praised the German embassy for intervening on her behalf. "Kuwait Air flight KU412 has now departed #Bangkok without #Rahaf on board, so this is an important victory for her, & a real tribute to her courage. She is demanding #UNHCR be allowed to see her, but #so far Thailand is not agreeing to that," he tweeted. A few hours earlier he had posted a message of thanks on the same social media site: "Thank you to the #German Embassy & government for standing up to #SaveRahaf and demanding that #Thailand not send her back to her family in #SaudiArabia."
So the 11.15am @KuwaitAirways flight has left - Rahaf is safe and still at BKK. But the Thai government is reportedly blocking @UNHCRThailand from coming to speak with her? Why? #SaveRahaf pic.twitter.com/ITI5zuhubU— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) January 7, 2019
Al-Qunun earlier told HRW that she fled while her family was visiting Kuwait, which unlike Saudi Arabia, does not require a male relative’s approval for an adult woman to depart the country. Al-Qunun said that she was fleeing abuse from her family, including beatings and death threats from her male relatives, who also forced her to remain in her room for six months for cutting her hair. Robertson also told The Guardian that: "She has clearly stated that she has renounced Islam which also puts her at serious risk of prosecution by the Saudi Arabian government." HRW added that Al-Qunun faces possible criminal charges in Saudi Arabia for "parental disobedience," which can result in punishments ranging from being returned to a guardian’s home to imprisonment, and for "harming the reputation of the kingdom" for her public appeals for help. Thailand has invited censure from human rights groups in recent years for its accommodating policy of deporting individuals or groups seeking asylum within its borders, notably Muslim Uighurs from China. More recently, Melbourne-based professional soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi, a Bahraini refugee, was arrested at a Bangkok airport on an Interpol red notice in December while visiting the kingdom with his wife.
#Kuwait Air flight KU412 has now departed #Bangkok without #Rahaf on board, so this is an important victory for her, & a real tribute to her courage. She is demanding #UNHCR be allowed to see her, but so far #Thailand is not agreeing to that. #SaveRahaf @Refugees @UNHCRThailand pic.twitter.com/o6ZiRxhZry— Phil Robertson (@Reaproy) January 7, 2019
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