Woman who fled Saudi Ara­bia reaches new home in Canada

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS -

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.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

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