Saudi asy­lum seeker re­ceives death threats

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

A SAUDI teenager who fled to Thai­land, say­ing she feared her fam­ily would kill her, deleted her Twit­ter ac­count yes­ter­day af­ter re­ceiv­ing death threats, a friend said, while she awaits a de­ci­sion on where she might be granted asy­lum.

Ra­haf Mo­hammed al-Qu­nun, 18, ar­rived in Thai­land last Satur­day and was ini­tially de­nied en­try.

She soon started post­ing mes­sages on Twit­ter from the tran­sit area of Bangkok’s Su­varn­ab­humi air­port, say­ing she had “es­caped Kuwait” and her life would be in dan­ger if she was forced to re­turn to Saudi Ara­bia. Within hours, a cam­paign sprang up dubbed #SaveRa­haf, spread on Twit­ter by a loose net­work of ac­tivists.

Thai au­thor­i­ties al­lowed her to en­ter the coun­try on Mon­day and the UN refugee agency later re­ferred her case to Aus­tralia for con­sid­er­a­tion for refugee re­set­tle­ment.

Yes­ter­day, her Twit­ter ac­count, ra­haf84427714, went off-line af­ter she posted she had “bad and good news!” The ac­count reap­peared briefly about an hour later but went off-line again within min­utes.

A Twit­ter user known as Nourah, whom Al-Qu­nun has re­ferred to as a friend, tweeted that Qu­nun “re­ceived death threats and for this rea­son she closed her Twit­ter ac­count”.

Al-Qu­nun, who is stay­ing in Bangkok at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion and was not avail­able for com­ment, had ear­lier said on Twit­ter she had been re­ceiv­ing death threats from a rel­a­tive on the social me­dia plat­form.

So­phie McNeill, an Aus­tralia Broad­cast Cor­po­ra­tion jour­nal­ist who has had di­rect con­tact with Al-Qu­nun, said the teenager was “safe and fine” but was tak­ing a short break from Twit­ter.

“She’s just been re­ceiv­ing a lot of death threats,” McNeill said on Twit­ter.

Sev­eral coun­tries in­clud­ing Canada and Aus­tralia were in talks with the UN refugee agency to ac­cept a Saudi asy­lum seeker who fled al­leged abuse from her fam­ily, Thai po­lice said. |


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