SAUDI ASY­LUM SEEKER LANDS IN CANADA

Deccan Chronicle - - World -

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.

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