SAUDI ASYLUM SEEKER LANDS IN CANADA
Toronto, Jan. 12: A “very, very happy” young Saudi woman who caused a sensation by defying her family and seeking asylum abroad was welcomed with open arms in Toronto Saturday at the end of a dramatic but exhausting international odyssey.
Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland greeted Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun after she landed in Toronto, wearing a gray hoodie emblazoned in red with the word “CANADA” and a blue cap with the logo of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Smiling broadly, the 18-year-old posed for photographers with Freeland at her side, but made no statement.
Freeland said Qunun “wanted Canadians to see that she’s here, that she’s well and that she is very, very happy to be in her new home.” “She had a pretty long journey and is exhausted and prefers not to take questions for the moment,” the diplomatic chief added, with an arm around Qunun’s shoulder. Her lawyer Francois Zimeray said he was confident his client would get financial support from Canadian authorities and NGO groups. The government and the NGOs will also “do what’s necessary so she can resume her studies,” Zimeray added.