UN asks Australia to consider resettling Saudi teen who fled family

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"When she arrived, she opened a new (Twitter) account and her followers grew to 45,000 in one day", he said in Arabic.

The journalist, Ms Sophie McNeill of Australia Broadcast Corp, began tweeting back to Ms Qunun, and later, the two began privately corresponding by direct message.

The UNHCR office in Thailand also declined to comment.

In her pleas online, the young woman specifically asked for asylum in the U.S., the UK, Canada and Australia.

"The fact is, now that she has criticized Saudi Arabia, Islam, her family, and "shamed the nation"-there is every reason at this point to fear that she could be jailed for many years and be subject to human rights violations and torture", Stirling said in a statement". She also said she had renounced her religion, Islam.

Earlier, Australia agreed to seriously consider allowing Alqunun to settle in Australia after urging the UNHCR to process her case quickly.

In a statement posted on social media, Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that the Thai government and UNHCR should deny the request of Alqunun's father and brother to meet her.

"I'd never spoken to her before", she told Reuters.

Thai officials had tried to force her take a flight to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia scheduled for the morning of January 7. Public pressure prompted Thai officials to return her passport and let her temporarily stay in Thailand.

As for providing security in light of Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he said "that's the Thai government's job and I hope that's being looked into".

By this time, global media outlets had picked up on the story and Thai immigration officials were confirming that Ms Qunun was to be expelled on Monday morning.

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But armed with a phone, she barricaded herself into an airside hotel room and fought back - live-tweeting her fears of deportation in a campaign that swiftly galvanised worldwide support and prompted a sharp U-turn by Thai officials.

"We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her". And if all else failed and she was forced on the Kuwait Airways jet, an activist in India was ready with a "bomb scare" tweet to stop the flight from leaving.

"We were inside the room and there were numerous people coming to the door".

"If my family come, they will kill me", she said in a video archived on Twitter.

The flight to Kuwait City left without Ms Qunun.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) country representative Giuseppe de Vincentiis arrived at the airport at about 5pm on Monday to meet Thai officials and Ms Qunun herself.

Thailand is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and provides no legal protection to asylum seekers, although there are more than 100,000 refugees in the country.

The deportation of the 18-year-old has been averted and she is now "under UNHCR [United Nations Refugee Convention] protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities".

The father and brother of a Saudi teenager who was detained in Bangkok after fleeing a family she claims will kill her are, according to police, due to arrive in Thailand imminently, where she is not being deported home as initially feared. "The Saudi charge d'affaires said he is satisfied and expressed confidence on the work of Thai immigration, of the Thai government, and of the Foreign Ministry yesterday".

A Saudi activist familiar with other cases of women who have run away said they were often young and unprepared for the risks involved in seeking asylum. She also noted that her passport had been returned to her after it was confiscated on Sunday.

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