Saudi teen fleeing her family arrives in Canada
TORONTO: Tired but smiling, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who said she feared death if deported back home arrived on Saturday in Canada, which offered her asylum in a case that attracted global attention after she mounted a social media campaign.
“This is Rahaf Alqunun, a very brave new Canadian,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said arm-in-arm with the Saudi woman in Toronto’s airport. Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun smiled broadly as she exited an airport arrival door sporting a Canada zipper hoodie and a UN High Commissioner for Refugees hat, capping a dramatic week that saw her flee her family while visiting Kuwait and before flying to Bangkok. Once there, she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would accept Alqunun as a refugee.
Alqunun flew to Toronto via Seoul, South Korea, according to Thai immigration Police Chief Surachate Hakparn. Alqunun tweeted two pictures from her plane seat, one with what appears to be a glass of wine and her passport and another holding her passport while on the plane with the hashtag “I did it” and the emojis showing a plane, hearts and a wine glass.