Court stops deportation of ‘fleeing’ Saudi woman

‘fleeing’ Saudi woman
‘fleeing’ Saudi woman

An injunction has been filed at Bangkok’s Criminal Court to prevent a Saudi woman held in Thailand’s airport from being deported, a lawyer said Monday.

Eighteen-year-old Saudi Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun said she was fleeing her “abusive” family in Kuwait and had flown to Thailand in the hopes of reaching Australia to seek asylum.

But she was stopped on Sunday when she was deplaned in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport by Kuwaiti and Saudi embassy officials, she said, and has since been held in an airport hotel awaiting deportation.

She feared that she would be killed if she is repatriated to Saudi Arabia.

Human rights lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman told AFP she filed an injunction at 1:00 pm (1400 GMT) at Bangkok’s criminal court to prevent Qunun’s deportation.

“In the event when we suspect that someone might be illegally detained, we request for the court to call the relevant authorities (in) for questioning,” said Bergman.

“For now, I just called for the immigration and Rahaf herself, and the staff at the hotel” to be questioned, she added.

Bergman said she was awaiting the court’s decision, and that Thai authorities had no grounds to hold Qunun if she had a passport and a visa for travel to Australia.

Thai immigration chief said Qunun was stopped for a lack of documents, and she had “bought the ticket” to return to Saudi Arabia herself but she is unwilling to do that.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok has issued a statement denying its role in holding her, and said Thai authorities stopped her for “violating the law”.

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