News World Saudi teenager seeking asylum still barricaded in room

Saudi teenager seeking asylum still barricaded in room

A Kuwait Airlines flight left without 18-year-old Rahaf Alqunun. Photo: Twitter
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The flight that was to have removed a distressed Saudi teenager attempting to seek asylum in Australia has left Bangkok airport without her.

Kuwait Airlines flight 412 took passengers on board and left without 18-year-old Rahaf Alqunun, who was detained in Thailand on Sunday.

Ms Alqunun flew from Kuwait and said she had a ticket onwards to Australia, where she had hoped to seek asylum over fears her family would kill her for renouncing Islam.

But when she arrived in Bangkok a Saudi diplomat met her at the airport and forcibly confiscated her passport, she said.

Ms Alqunun has since barricaded herself inside her room at an airport hotel where she now remains, and is requesting to speak to the United Nations refugee office.

In a video message posted to social media today, Ms Alqunun said she would continue the barricade.

“I’m not leaving my room until I see UNHCR [the UN Refugee Agency],” she said. “I want asylum.”

Representatives from the UNHCR on Monday tried to access the airport to interview the 18-year-old, but were blocked by the Thai government.

While confined inside the hotel, being watched by men she said were from the Saudi embassy and Kuwait Airlines, Ms Alqunun began tweeting that she had “nothing to lose”.

“My name is Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Alqunun and this is my picture,” she tweeted.

“I’m afraid, my family WILL kill me.”

Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most repressive countries for women.

Under the “guardianship” system, women are forbidden from travelling without a male escort – a father, uncle, husband, brother or son.

The ABC has contacted Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Police Chief for comment, but there has been no response.

The case comes three months after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, and two months since Thai officials detained Australian refugee Hakeem AlAraibi in Bangkok.