Saudi Teen Fleeing Family Granted Asylum In Canada

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Trudeau said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had asked Canada to take in Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who grabbed global attention this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse.

Thailand's immigration chief Surachate had earlier told reporters Friday that "two or three" countries were ready to offer her asylum.

"She still refuses to meet with her father and brother, and they are going to be traveling back tonight as well..."

Canada already has frosty relations with Riyadh over Canadian demands for the "immediate release" of jailed rights campaigners, including Samar Badawi, the sister of the Saudi jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

A Saudi woman, who reportedly fled her family over abuse and barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel last week, is coming to Canada, CTV reported on Friday.

Within hours, a campaign sprang up, spread by a loose network of online activists, and the world watched as she refused to board a flight to Saudi Arabia and barricade herself inside a transit lounge hotel room.

But armed with a smartphone and hastily opened Twitter account, she forced a U-turn from Thai immigration police who handed her into the care of the UN's refugee agency as the #SaveRahaf hashtag bounced across the world.

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"If she is found to be a refugee, then we will give very, very, very serious consideration to a humanitarian visa", health minister Greg Hunt had said before the United Nations determination was public.

Alqunun's case has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Several women fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum overseas in recent years and returned home.

Al-Araibi's case is being considered by Thailand's justice system, she said.

But he said the immigration minister, David Coleman, had questions to answer about why the Australian government had taken so long to assess her application when Canada managed to do it in one day.

She used a Canadian tourist's phone to send a message, a video of which was posted to Twitter, saying her family would kill her.

Canada's ambassador saw Ms Alqunun off at the airport, General Surachate said, adding she looked happy and healthy.

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".

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Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said al-Qunun's father and brother, who have arrived in Thailand, could not object to the United Nations process as she has already been granted refugee status.

"She chose Canada. It's her personal decision", he said.

Thailand, which initially had threatened to deport her back to Saudi Arabia, said she was seen off by Canada's ambassador.

Alqunun was detained by Saudi officials at a Bangkok airport after flying from Kuwait, as she sought to reach Australia to seek asylum.

She was on a trip to Kuwait with her family, when she fled on a flight to Bangkok.

"Rahaf temporarily suspended her #Twitter account because she has been receiving some very nasty, very real death threats". "I think there are many cases like this that go unreported".

Surachate described the father as being a governor in Saudi Arabia.

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The statement said the "fast-track" mechanism that allowed for al-Qunun to come to Canada so quickly "is available only to a fraction of the world's 25.4 million refugees, typically those at greatest risk, such as women at risk".

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