- An 18-year-old Saudi girl who claims she was abducted in transit through Bangkok airport has reportedly barricaded herself inside a hotel room.
- Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq al-Qunun is now calling for a protest from all people inside Bangkok airport as she awaits deportation to Kuwait.
- The BBC reports she is seeking asylum in Australia.
- The girl claims she was abducted on Sunday and had her passport confiscated by Saudi Arabian diplomatic staff on arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.
- “I’m calling for all people inside the transit area in Bangkok to protest against deporting me to Kuwait,” she tweeted on Monday.
The BBC reports that Human Rights Watch is calling on Thai authorities to intervene after news that al-Qunun was being held at Bangkok’s main airport began to circulate on Sunday.
Rahaf Mohammed says she is trying to escape her father and begin a new life in Australia, after fleeing from her family following a holiday in Kuwait.
The BBC says the teenager is due to be deported to Kuwait on Monday. However, by Monday mid-afternoon Bangkok time, she had barricaded herself inside the hotel room, according to reports from Human Rights Watch, international media and unverified photos on social media.
Ms Mohammed al-Qunun says she was intercepted by Saudi officials trying to head to Australia via a connecting flight in Bangkok.
“Please I need u all. I’m shouting out for help of humanity,” she tweeted on Monday.
A reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has tweeted that she is barricading herself inside a hotel room.
— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) January 7, 2019
She says she is being held at an airport hotel by diplomatic and airline staff, despite having a visa to travel to Australia.
The teenager has vowed to not leave the room until she speaks with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, also said via twitter that al-Qunan has “barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave until she is able to see the UNHCR.”
Video from @rahaf84427714 just sent from her hotel room at the #Bangkok airport. She has barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave until she is able to see #UNHCR. Why is #Thailand not letting @Refugees see her for refugee status determination? @hrw #SaveRahaf pic.twitter.com/3lb2NDRsVG
— Phil Robertson (@Reaproy) January 7, 2019
Ms al-Qunan claims that she has been abused by her family and would be killed if she returned home.
Saudi Arabia has been under a global spotlight ever since its crown prince was accused of involvement in the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.
The kingdom has attracted widespread international criticism in the intervening months.
Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has seen the arrest of business leaders, royals and activists and most recently vowed to execute those it has charged with the death of Khashoggi.
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