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Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen refugee arrives in Canada



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Media caption #SaveRahaf campaign has become viral after Rahaf has started tweeting about his asylum situation

A Saudi Arabian who fled from his family and ran aground in a Bangkok airport he arrived in Canada after obtaining asylum there.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, was trying to reach Australia via Bangkok, but initially he was told to return to Kuwait, where his family was waiting.

He refused to come back and barricade himself in his hotel room at the airport, attracting international attention.

He said he had renounced Islam, which is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the teenager as "a brave new Canadian" but said that Mrs. al-Qunun was tired of her ordeal and long journey and would not issue any public statement Saturday 1

9659004. "She is a very courageous young woman who has gone through many … and will now go to her new home," the minister added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters earlier that his country had granted a request to the UN High Commission for Refugees to grant asylum.

"Canada has been unequivocal that we will always support human rights and women's rights around the world," he said.

How did you reach Canada?

She arrived at Pearson International Airport on a & # 39; Korean Air flight from Seoul on Saturday.

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AFP

Picture caption

Ms. Al-Qunun (right) smiled when she emerged from the arrivals

He tweeted the pictures that appeared to show them aboard the jet just before takeoff, with the words: "I did!"

Why did she run away?

Ms. Qunun told the BBC that she was afraid that her family would kill her.

"I can not study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want," he said.

Separately, he told AFP news that the agency had suffered physical and psychological abuse from his family, including being locked up in his room for six months to cut his hair.

A spokesman for his family told the BBC that they did not want to comment and all they cared for was The Security of the Young Woman

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it was a legitimate refugee and welcomed Canada's decision to grant her asylum.

"International law on refugees and the dominant values ​​of humanity have prevailed," said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Canada has previously angled in Saudi Arabia after demanding the release of women's rights activists detained in the country – prompting Riyadh to expel the Canadian ambassador and freeze all new exchanges.

  • Why Trudeau will not back down

How did it end in Bangkok?

He was traveling to Kuwait with his family when he fled on a flight to the Thai capital, saying he intended to take a connecting flight to Australia and had an Australian visa.

But she says her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat when he met her as she left the flight in Bangkok, leaving her stuck.

A Saudi envoy to Bangkok denied any Saudi official involvement in the detention of Ms Qunun, and his passport was subsequently returned.

He initially described his case as a "family problem" and said that he would be repatriated to Kuwait the next day.

However, Ms. Qunun sent a series of tweets requesting help from her hotel room at the airport, and her case was collected by Human Rights Watch to and journalists.

Thailand allowed her to stay and the United Nations evaluated her asylum application.


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