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Journalist Khashoggi’s murder

 
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2019 05:12 am
Quote:
A young Saudi woman says she is stranded at Bangkok's main airport after fleeing her family and having her passport seized by a Saudi official.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun says she was on a trip to Kuwait with her family when she fled on a flight two days ago.

She was trying to head to Australia via a connecting flight in Bangkok.

She told the BBC that she had renounced Islam, and feared she would be forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia and killed by her family.

Thai police Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn told the BBC that Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was escaping a marriage. Because she did not have a visa to enter Thailand, he said police had denied her entry and were in the process of repatriating her through the same airline she had taken, Kuwait Airlines.

Gen Surachate said he was unaware of any passport seizure.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says Ms Mohammed al-Qunun is frightened and confused. She says she has an Australian visa but her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat when he met her coming off the flight.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun detailed her plight on Twitter, saying: "Because I got nothing to lose I'm going now to share me real name and my all information."

She also shared a picture of her passport "because I want you to know I'm real and exist".

Another tweet read: "I'm afraid my family will kill me."

The case echoes that of another Saudi woman who was in transit to Australia in April 2017.

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, was en route from Kuwait via the Philippines. but was taken back to Saudi Arabia from Manila airport by her family.

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.

Her fate on arriving back in Saudi Arabia remains unknown.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46773625
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 03:37 am
Quote:
A young Saudi woman who says she has fled her family in fear for her life has barricaded herself in her hotel room at Bangkok airport.

Thai immigration officials want to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

She refused to board a flight to Kuwait City on Monday, despite officials stationed outside her room.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait," the teenager told Reuters.

"They will kill me. My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns over Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's welfare.

"She has barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave" until she is allowed to meet the UN refugee agency and claim asylum, Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said on Twitter.

Mr Robertson said Thai lawyers have filed an injunction in Bangkok criminal court "to prevent the deportation of Rahaf to Kuwait", adding: "time is short & she faces dire peril".

How did the stand-off start?
Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was on holiday with her family in Kuwait when she fled two days ago. She was trying to head to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum, via a connecting flight in Bangkok.

She says her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat who met her coming off the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday.

She insists she has a visa for Australia, and never wanted to stay in Thailand.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok said Ms Mohammed al-Qunun had been held at the airport "because she didn't have a return ticket" and that she is set to be deported to Kuwait "where most of her family lives".

It said Saudi Arabia does not have the authority to hold her at the airport or anywhere else, and that officials are in touch with her father.

Mr Robertson of Human Rights Watch told the BBC: "It seems that the Thai government is manufacturing a story that she tried to apply for a visa and it was denied... in fact, she had an onward ticket to go to Australia, she didn't want to enter Thailand in the first place."

He argued that the Thai authorities had clearly co-operated with Saudi Arabia as Saudi officials were able to meet the plane when it arrived.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46777848
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 03:37 am
Quote:
A young Saudi woman who says she has fled her family in fear for her life has barricaded herself in her hotel room at Bangkok airport.

Thai immigration officials want to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

She refused to board a flight to Kuwait City on Monday, despite officials stationed outside her room.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait," the teenager told Reuters.

"They will kill me. My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns over Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's welfare.

"She has barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave" until she is allowed to meet the UN refugee agency and claim asylum, Human Rights Watch's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said on Twitter.

Mr Robertson said Thai lawyers have filed an injunction in Bangkok criminal court "to prevent the deportation of Rahaf to Kuwait", adding: "time is short & she faces dire peril".

How did the stand-off start?
Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was on holiday with her family in Kuwait when she fled two days ago. She was trying to head to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum, via a connecting flight in Bangkok.

She says her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat who met her coming off the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday.

She insists she has a visa for Australia, and never wanted to stay in Thailand.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok said Ms Mohammed al-Qunun had been held at the airport "because she didn't have a return ticket" and that she is set to be deported to Kuwait "where most of her family lives".

It said Saudi Arabia does not have the authority to hold her at the airport or anywhere else, and that officials are in touch with her father.

Mr Robertson of Human Rights Watch told the BBC: "It seems that the Thai government is manufacturing a story that she tried to apply for a visa and it was denied... in fact, she had an onward ticket to go to Australia, she didn't want to enter Thailand in the first place."

He argued that the Thai authorities had clearly co-operated with Saudi Arabia as Saudi officials were able to meet the plane when it arrived.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46777848
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 06:50 am
Some good news.

Quote:
Thailand's immigration police chief says they will not deport a Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend, due to concerns for her safety.

Thai immigration officials had tried to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

She refused to board a flight to Kuwait City on Monday, and barricaded herself into her hotel room at Bangkok airport.

The teenager said she believed her family would kill her if she went back because she had renounced Islam.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait," she told Reuters.

"My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns for Ms Mohammed al-Qunun, who arrived at Bangkok's international airport on a flight from Kuwait. She had travelled to Thailand for a connecting flight to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum.

She has said she will not leave her hotel room until she is allowed to meet the UN refugee agency.

Melissa Fleming, head of communications at the refugee agency, tweeted at 18:25 (11:25 GMT) on Monday that "Our Bangkok protection team is meeting with @Rahaf84427714 now".

Thailand's chief of immigration police Surachate Hakparn said on Monday afternoon local time that the country would "protect her as best we can".

"She is now under the sovereignty of Thailand, no-one and no embassy can force her to go anywhere," he said. "We will talk to her and do whatever she requests.

"Since she escaped trouble to seek our help... we will not send anyone to their death."

An injunction filed by Thai lawyers in Bangkok criminal court to stop the deportation was dismissed earlier on Monday.

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.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46777848
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 01:03 pm
@izzythepush,
What a nightmare scenario.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 01:07 pm
Quote:
An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend has left Bangkok airport "under the care" of the UN refugee agency, the head of Thailand's immigration police says.

The Thai authorities said her status would be assessed by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

On Monday evening local time, Thailand's chief of immigration police Surachate Hakparn confirmed that Ms Mohammed al-Qunun was "allowed to stay", and that she "left the airport with the UNHCR".

He earlier said the country would "take care of her as best we can", adding: "She is now under the sovereignty of Thailand; no-one and no embassy can force her to go anywhere.

"Thailand is a land of smiles. We will not send anyone to die."

Mr Surachate said he would meet Saudi diplomats on Tuesday to clarify Thailand's decision.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun tweeted that her father had arrived, "which worried and scared me a lot", but said she felt safe "under UNHCR protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities".


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46777848
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2019 01:11 pm
@glitterbag,
It really doesn't bear thinking of. Not so long ago she would have been deported, but thanks to social media she's generated huge publicity, focused the spotlight yet again on the hideous practices of the Saudi regime.

They are going to want to make this go away as quickly as possible before it turns into a cause celebre.

I also think a huge sense of entitlement causes them to react to events in an overemotional way instead of being pragmatic. They could have let her fly to Australia quietly and disappear into obscurity, but no, they had to flex their muscles and take her passport.

This is Khashoggi on a smaller scale. And she's the one we know about, what of those who went back to SA quietly, or aren't even allowed to travel out of the country.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2019 02:17 am
Quote:
The UN's refugee agency has said it is "very grateful" that officials in Thailand did not deport an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend.

Saudi Arabia's embassy in Thailand has denied that its government in Riyadh requested her extradition, reports the Reuters news agency.

The Australian government said it would closely monitor the case, calling Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's allegations "deeply concerning".


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46790542

The whitewash has already begun, if the Saudis didn't request her extradition then why did an official confiscate her passport. As with Khashoggi they'll continue to say black is white until the evidence to the contrary is undeniable.

They'll probably get away with it too, this case is no way as high profile as Khashoggi's and it's a lot easier to accept the false narrative that this is a family matter that has nothing to do with the government than get into a costly spat with the sheiks.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 01:53 am
Quote:
A Saudi woman who fled her family and refused to leave a Bangkok hotel has been declared a legitimate refugee by the UN, the Australian government says.

The UN's refugee agency has referred her case to Australia for possible resettlement.

In a brief statement, Australia's Department of Home Affairs said it would "consider this referral in the usual way".

"The government will be making no further comment on this matter," it said.

The UNHCR office in Thailand also declined to comment.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's father and brother have arrived in Thailand but she is refusing to see them.

Officials in Australia have hinted that her request will be accepted.

"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 told the ABC network the UN determination was made public.

Ms Mohammed a-Qunun shared dozens of live updates on her case on social media, attracting international attention.

Renunciation of Islam is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's father is the governor of al-Sulaimi, a town in the northern Saudi province of Hail.

"My life is in danger," she told the Reuters news agency. "My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

A spokesperson for her family told the BBC that they did not wish to comment and all they cared about was the young woman's safety.

Campaign groups have expressed grave concerns for Ms Mohammed al-Qunun.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-46806485
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2019 12:09 pm
Quote:
A Saudi woman who fled her family and became stranded at Bangkok's main airport is now flying to Canada to seek asylum, Thai officials say.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, had been trying to reach Australia via Bangkok, but was initially told to return to Kuwait, where her family were waiting.

Under Saudi Arabia's "male guardianship system", a Saudi woman is required to obtain a male relative's approval to apply for a passport, travel outside the country, study abroad on a government scholarship, get married, leave prison, or even exit a shelter for abuse victims.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun told the BBC: "I shared my story and my pictures on social media and my father is so angry because I did this... I can't study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want."

She also said she was afraid her family would kill her.

Separately, she told AFP she had suffered physical and psychological abuse from her family, including being locked in her room for six months for cutting her hair.

A spokesperson for her family told the BBC that they did not wish to comment and all they cared about was the young woman's safety.

On Friday, Ms Mohammed al-Qunun wrote on Twitter that she had "some good news and some bad news", before deleting her account. Her friends said she had received death threats online.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46844431
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 11 Jan, 2019 02:16 pm
Quote:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters: "Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world. When the UN made a request of us that we grant Ms al-Qunun asylum, we accepted."

Canada has previously angered Saudi Arabia after calling for the release of detained women's rights activists in the country - prompting Riyadh to expel Canada's ambassador and freeze all new trade.

The UNHCR has welcomed Canada's decision to resettle Ms Qunun.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said: "[Her] plight has captured the world's attention over the past few days, providing a glimpse into the precarious situation of millions of refugees worldwide.

"Refugee protection today is often under threat and cannot always be assured, but in this instance international refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed."


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46844431
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Sun 13 Jan, 2019 05:01 am
Quote:
It's a dramatic story that has brought the restrictions faced by women in Saudi Arabia back into the spotlight.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, garnered global attention last week after she locked herself into her hotel room and refused to fly back home.

She was fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and, after instigating a high-profile Twitter campaign, was granted asylum in Canada.

As the debate about women's rights in the country continues, another young woman who fled Saudi Arabia for Canada has told her story to the BBC.

Salwa, 24, ran away with her 19-year-old sister eight months ago and now lives in Montreal. This, in her own words, is her story.

We had been planning to leave for roughly six years, but we needed a passport and a national ID card to do so.

I needed the consent of my guardian to get these documents. (Women in Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a male relative's approval for many things).

Fortunately, I had a national ID card already because my family agreed to give me one while I was studying at university.

I also had a passport because I needed one to sit an English language exam two years ago.

But my family took it away from me. Somehow, I needed to get it back.

I stole the keys to my brother's house and then went to the store to get a copy of them cut. I couldn't leave the house without their consent, but I sneaked out while they were sleeping.

It was very risky because if I had been caught then they would have hurt me.

Once I had the keys I managed to get hold of my passport, my sister's passport, and I also took my father's phone while he was sleeping.

Using this, I logged into his account on the interior ministry's website and changed his registered phone number to my number.

I also used his account to give us both consent to leave the country.

We left at night while everyone was sleeping. It was very, very, stressful.

We can't drive so we called a taxi. Fortunately, almost all of the taxi drivers in Saudi Arabia are from foreign countries so they didn't view us travelling alone as strange.

We headed for King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh. If anyone had noticed what we were doing then I think we would have been killed.

For the last year of my education I was working in a hospital and saved up enough money to buy the plane tickets and a transit visa for Germany. I also had money from unemployment benefits that I had saved.

I managed to board the flight to Germany with my sister. It was the first time I had ever been on a plane and it was amazing. I felt happy, I felt fearful, I felt everything.

My father called the police when he realised we weren't at home, but by that time it was too late.

Because I had changed the phone number on his interior ministry account, when the authorities tried to call him they actually called me.

When I landed, I'd even received a message from the police that was meant for my father.

There's no life in Saudi Arabia. I just went to the university then moved back home and did nothing all day.

They hurt me, and told me bad things like men are superior. I was forced to pray and fast at Ramadan as well.

When I arrived in Germany I went to legal aid to find a lawyer for my asylum claim. I filled out some forms and told them my story.

I chose Canada because it has a very good reputation for human rights. I followed the news about the Syrian refugees being resettled there and decided it was the best place for me.

My claim was accepted, and when I landed in Toronto I saw the Canadian flag at the airport and just felt this amazing sense of achievement.

I'm in Montreal today with my sister and there's no stress. No one forces me to do anything here.

They might have more money in Saudi Arabia but here it's better because when I want to leave my apartment I can just leave. I don't need consent. I just go outside.

It makes me feel really, really, happy. I feel like I am free. I just wear what I want to wear.

I love the colours in the autumn and the snow here. I'm learning French but it's so difficult! I'm also learning to ride a bicycle and I'm trying to learn how to swim and ice skate.

I feel like I'm actually doing something with my life.

I don't have any contact with my family, but I think that's good for me and for them. I feel like this is my home now. It's better here.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46818237<br />
0 Replies
 
 

 
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