Australian minister hints Saudi teen likely to get asylum

Australian minister hints Saudi teen likely to get asylum

Australian minister hints Saudi teen likely to get asylum

He was held based on a conviction back in Bahrain which he and rights groups said was false and threatened with return despite having refugee status and Australian travel documents. It said: "I am the girl who escaped Kuwait to Thailand".

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday denied on its Twitter account that its embassy in Thailand had asked for Ms Qunun to be extradited, although Mr Surachate said the previous day that the embassy had been in contact with Thai immigration before her arrival from Kuwait. "I have a ticket from Thailand to Melbourne, Australia", she told Asia Times via direct message. Saudi activists say the kingdom, through its embassies overseas, has at times put pressure on border patrol agents in foreign countries to deport the women back to Saudi Arabia.

"We would have hoped that you'd have confiscated her cell phone - it would have been preferable to taking her passport", Sheaibi said, eliciting timid laughter from the translator.

On Sunday Thai authorities said Qunun would be sent back to Saudi Arabia, but they abruptly changed course as her plight pinballed across social media.

A spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees at its Geneva headquarters, Babar Baloch, said it could take several days for the agency to look into Alqunun's claims.

Mr Hunt said the government would give "very, very serious consideration to a humanitarian visa" for the teenager if she was found to be a refugee.

However, there has so far been no evidence her life is in actual danger.

Australian national broadcaster ABC reported that the country's Home Affairs Department announced late Tuesday that it would consider Alqunun's application for asylum if she was found to be a genuine refugee, and called on Thai authorities and UNHCR to assess her claim as quickly as possible.

But the Thai immigration chief, Surachate Hakpan, said the men would have to wait to learn whether the UN's refugee agency would allow the request.

Social media helps "spread the word" of these cases, human rights lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman who has worked on both the Alaraibi and Qunun cases told AFP, and is making authorities "more careful about their actions".

The Australian government said that it will evaluate al-Qunun's case according to its standard procedures, just like it does with other United Nations referrals, and declined to make further comment.

At about 1am on Monday morning, Ms Qunun posted a video of herself pushing a table to barricade her hotel room door.

Canberra has hinted that it will likely grant her asylum. She was referred to Australia for resettlement.

Qunun said on Twitter that she was "scared" because her father arrived in Thailand yesterday, but that her passport had been returned to her.

Ms Alqunun made a plea for protection from a number of countries including Australia, though her connections to the nation are unclear.

Canada and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over human rights issues since the summer, when Canadian Twitter accounts urged the Saudi government to free women's rights activists it had recently jailed.

"Since Thailand is the 'Land of Smiles, ' of course we won't send someone to their death", he said.

For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are nearly always trying to escape male relatives.

The kingdom's human rights record has been under heavy scrutiny since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country's embassy in Istanbul previous year.

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