Australia Considering Resettlement for Fleeing Saudi Woman

BBC asks if Muslim teenager who fled Saudi ‘should be killed for leaving Islam’

Trudeau says the United Nations High Commission on Refugees made a request of Canada that it take Alqunun as a refugee and Canada accepted as part of its commitment to stand up for women's rights around the world. "We are, as I've said, very concerned about his detention, very concerned about any potential for return of Mr.al-Araibi to Bahrain".

Ms Qunun's desperate tweets ricocheted across social media with the #SaveRahaf hashtag drawing an outpouring of support but also the bile of some hardliners in her native country.

Alqunun's case has again highlighted the precarious cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

The decision to give haven to the 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun capped a almost week-long drama that highlighted the power of social media to call attention to her case and reverse initial plans by Thai officials to deport her back to Kuwait, where she fled her family while on holiday.

Her online campaign was so successful that Saudi charge d'affaires Abdalelah Mohammed A.al-Shuaibi told Thai officials through a translator: "We wish they had confiscated her phone instead of her passport".

Her father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday with the intention of seeing her - but Thai police said she refused to meet them.

The 18-year-old barricaded herself in a room at an airport hotel in Bangkok on Sunday, saying she had renounced Islam and her life was in danger from her family in Kuwait.

She was on her way to Australia when she was stopped by Thai authorities.

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Despite reports the 18-year-old was heading to Australia, it appears she may be headed to Canada after the UNHCR withdrew its referral, The Australian reported.

On Wednesday, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees found Qunun to be a refugee and referred her to Australia for resettlement.

Reuters cited the Thai immigration chief as the source who said Alqunun was going to Canada - which has been in a simmering months-long diplonatic spat with Saudi Arabia.

"And actually his tribe is one of the largest tribes in Saudi Arabia, so it's quite influential and she certainly would have faced grievous physical harm and perhaps death if she had been sent back based on what I've been told by our researcher and others", he said.

Immigration chief Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn address media at Suvarnabhumi Airport where Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun has barricaded herself inside a hotel room in Bangkok, Jan. 7, 2019. Her friends said she had suffered abuse at their hands. In downtown Sydney on Thursday, four women dressed in jeans and calling themselves the Secret Sisterhood held a topless protest outside the building housing the Saudi Consulate, calling on Australia to grant Alqunun residency.

The office of Canada's foreign minister however, said it could not confirm that asylum had been granted.

Sophie McNeill, a reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation who has had exclusive access to al-Qunun, said Friday that al-Qunun shut down her Twitter account, but is "safe and fine".

On Friday afternoon she posted a final cryptic tweet on her profile saying "I have some good news and some bad news" - shortly after her account was deactivated.

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