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Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

Thailand: Saudi asylum seeker flying to Canada

Thailand: Saudi asylum seeker flying to Canada
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun

Bangkok, January 11

A Saudi asylum seeker who fled alleged abuse by her family is leaving Bangkok on Friday and will fly to Canada, Thailand’s immigration police chief said.

Police Chief Surachate Hakparn said the 18-year-old girl, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, would leave late Friday evening. He gave no other details. He earlier said several countries, including Canada and Australia, were in talks with the UN refugee agency on accepting Alqunun.

A spokesman for Canada’s foreign minister said he could not confirm she was coming to Canada.

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

If Canada is taking Alqunun, it could further upset Saudi-Canada relations. In August, Saudis expelled Canada’s envoy and withdrew its own after Canada’s foreign ministry tweeted support for the arrests of women’s right activists. The Saudis also ordered their citizens studying in Canada to leave. — AP

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