United Nations officials interview Saudi teen asylum seeker in Thailand

Will Be Killed If Sent Back: Saudi Woman Stopped From Entering Thailand

The UN'srefugee agency said on Tuesday it was investigating the case of Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun who fled from her family and barricaded herself inside a Bangkok airport hotel to prevent Thailand expelling her.

Earlier in the day, Hakparn said Alqunun's father would arrive tonight, and that officials would see if the young woman was willing to depart with him.

Gen. Surachate Hakparn, said at a news conference at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where Alqunun is staying, that he would meet with United Nations refugee officials to discuss allowing them to see her later Monday. While on a recent trip with her family, Alqunun slipped away and flew to Thailand, in an attempt to reach Australia, where she hoped to ultimately be granted asylum.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, issued a statement saying it was following the case and "trying to seek access from the Thai authorities" to meet with Alqunun to assess her need for global protection.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has some of the world's toughest restrictions on women, including a guardianship system that allows male family members to make decisions on behalf of female relatives.

Ms Alqunun said she had been abused by her family and would be killed if she is returned home, because she renounced Islam. "I can't study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want", she said.

"I'm afraid, my family WILL kill me". In an update on twitter, Qunun said she was under the protection of UNHCR and got her passport back.

Mr Robertson said Ms Alqunun was in transit to Australia when she was detained and did not need a visa, which is available on arrival anyway.

In her initial social media pleas, the Saudi teen said her family was powerful in Saudi society but she did not identify them. In Saudi Arabia she would have been unable to travel without a man's consent.

The agency said it was "very grateful" that officials did not send Qunun back against her will.

"The embassy does not have the authority to stop her at the airport or anywhere else". "I know them. They kept telling me they will kill me if I do something wrong - they say that since I was a child". "I'm in real danger because the Saudi embassy trying to forcing me to go back to Saudi Arabia, while I'm at the airport waiting for my second flight." she wrote.

Rafah's father reportedly holds a position in Saudi government and told Thailand airport officials her daughter was mentally ill but could not provide any supporting medical documentation.

"She was over-exaggerating. She fled her family from Saudi Arabia and arrived in Thailand but she didn't have necessary documents to enter".

"We and UNHCR will talk to her and ask her what her wishes are, whether she wants to request asylum", immigration chief Surachate Hakparn told a news conference.

She said she believed she was stopped after her family appealed to Kuwait Airways.

"They won't let me drive or travel".

"We have contacted Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry in order to send her back to her country of origin", Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.

A copy of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun's passport, which she says was removed from her when she landed in Thailand.

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