Saudi asylum seeker to leave for Canada Friday night: Thai immigration chief


"Yes, Australia has granted her asylum, but we are waiting to hear where exactly she is going", immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn confirmed to CNN today.

The fast-moving developments capped an eventful week for Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun.

Miss al-Qunun's case has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Qunun's swift use of Twitter saw her amass more than tens of thousands of followers within a week, highlighting her plight at a time when Saudi Arabia's human rights record is under heavy scrutiny following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year.

A QUICK RECAP: Rahaf Mohammed al-Qanun has been granted asylum by both Australia and Canada, according to CNN.

"Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world", he said.

Trudeau appeared unfazed by the possibility of ill effects on Canada's relations with the Saudi Arabia.

With no queue to speak of, it is more like she will have won the lottery if resettled.

It is not clear why the Australian option fell through, and the United Nations switched to Canada.

"The Thai government is most certainly aware of the importance of this matter to Australia", Payne told reporters.

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"The Canadian government seemed to appreciate the urgency of this case, while Australian officials did not - for whatever reason, Australia was moving too slowly in processing UNHCR's request", Pearson said.

Although her asylum case has moved at lightning speed the final maneuvers that led to her flight to Canada remain a mystery. He added that, ultimately, the outcome was a good one. She was sent to a hotel room and told she would be put on a Monday morning flight to Kuwait. It garnered enough public and diplomatic support to convince Thai officials to admit her temporarily under the protection of United Nations officials.

Alqunun has accused her family of abuse, and had refused to meet her father who traveled to Bangkok to try take her back to Saudi Arabia. Alqunun hid in a transit lounge hotel room and began tweeting in Arabic about her plight.

"If I say yes to this question, that means I'm creating problems for the families that don't want to give freedom for their daughters", he told USA magazine The Atlantic.

Alqunun was detained by Saudi officials at a Bangkok airport after flying from Kuwait, as she sought to reach Australia to seek asylum.

In August, Riyadh expelled Canada's ambassador and withdrew its own envoy from Canada after Canada's Foreign Ministry tweeted support for women's rights activists arrested in the kingdom.

The Saudis also sold Canadian investments and recalled their students from universities in Canada.

Upon arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport Saturday night, Qunun said she was met by a man whom she identified at various times.

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne gestures as she answers a journalist's question in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

After grabbing worldwide attention with dramatic posts on social media in which she said she feared for her safety if made to return home to her family, Alqunun eventually was placed in the care of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees as her bid for refugee status was considered.