Woman who fled Saudi Arabia reaches new home in Canada
TORONTO » Tired but smiling, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who said she feared death if deported back home arrived Saturday in Canada, which offered her asylum in a case that attracted global attentione mounted a social media campaign.
“This is Rahaf Alqunun, a very brave new Canadian,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said with the Saudi woman in Toronto’s airport.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun smiled broadly as she exited an airport arrival door, 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. Her situation has highlighted the cause of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women fleeing abuse have been caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years.