‘Family will kill me’: Saudi woman held at Bangkok airport pleads for asylum

Bangkok: A Saudi woman being held at Bangkok airport on Monday appealed for asylum and for other passengers to help protest her looming deportation, in desperate tweets from the hotel room where she barricaded herself.

The incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over its investigation and handling of the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom’s rights record.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun told AFP she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.

She said she had planned to travel to Australia and seek asylum there, and feared she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.

The 18-year-old said she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officials when she arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport and her travel document was forcibly taken from her, a claim backed by Human Rights Watch.

She tweeted that she was due to be deported on a Kuwait Airways flight to Kuwait due to depart at 11.15am (0415 GMT).

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