Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, who claimed to have run away from her family after enduring physical and psychological abuse, barricaded herself in an airport hotel even as Thai authorities prepared to deport her back to her family at the request of Riyadh.
BANGKOK (AP) - Australia's foreign minister praised Thailand on Thursday for its handling of a young Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum in Australia, but also reminded it of continuing concern about a Bahraini soccer player granted asylum in Australia who remains in Thai detention.
Alaraibi was detained in Bangkok in November while trying to go on vacation with his wife. "I ask the Australian government, please don't forget me".
Her case has drawn attention to Saudi Arabia's strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male "guardian" to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.
"We want to show the world, women can be free and safe and should be able to express ourselves freely and safely", Love said. Rahaf chose Thailand because she believed there was no Saudi embassy there, ' Shahad told The Australian.
She had been intending to fly from there to Australia to seek asylum.
Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said the father of the 18-year-old wants to "take her home" and had announced he was "against" her seeking asylum.
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Ms al-Qunun was detained in Thailand following her arrival in the country. She was taken under their care by the United Nations agency on Monday.
But just days after fleeing a powerful and allegedly abusive family in Saudi Arabia, al-Qunun has already been judged a legitimate refugee by the United Nations and been in contact with Australian officials in Bangkok about resettlement.
The U.N. refugee agency has referred Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement.
The department is considering the request "in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals", the spokesperson said.
She will be subject to Australian checks before she is granted a humanitarian visa, including character and security assessments.
The Saudi teenager posted the caption "Hey".
Al-Araibi has said he was blindfolded and had his legs beaten while he was held in Bahrain in 2012.
"[The] cause and reasoning [of both cases] are entirely different", she said.
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Ms al-Qunun is now in the care of United Nations officials and under the protection of Thai police.
He said her father, who has flown to Thailand with her brother to try and lobby for her return, was the equivalent of a municipal mayor in the highly conservative Saudi Arabian province Ha'il.
Ms Qunun's father, accompanied by her brother, arrived in Bangkok, and denied any physical abuse of his daughter, or any attempt to force her into an arranged marriage.
Still Tamara Wood, a lecturer in forced migration at the University of New South Wales, said the speed with which her case is being treated appears quick, but "not unprecedented". He said that in Saudia Arabia there is an agency that enforces the law [against abuse], and he certainly couldn't do anything illegal, ' General Surachate said. He said the daughter might feel neglected sometimes.
Thai authorities eventually admitted Alqunun into the country and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognised her as a refugee.
"The only way they can [communicate with people outside] is to write a letter", she said. "Fight and get your RIGHTS!"
If she had made it to Australia, she would have been just one of the thousands of would-be refugees who turn up at Australian ports, airports, and borders who face lengthy waits, albeit in relative safety.
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