A Thai courtroom on Monday rejected an try to dam the deportation of a Saudi lady who made a determined plea for asylum, saying she feared for her life after escaping an abusive household.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun informed AFP she ran away from her household whereas touring in Kuwait as a result of they subjected her to bodily and psychological abuse.
The 18-year-old stated she had deliberate to journey to Australia and search asylum there, and feared she could be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officers who stopped her throughout transit on Sunday.
The incident comes towards the backdrop of intense scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over its investigation and dealing with of the surprising homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi final 12 months, which has renewed criticism of the dominion’s rights report.
Human rights lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman filed an injunction to dam her deportation but it surely was rejected by Bangkok’s felony courtroom.
“They dismissed the request,” she informed AFP. “They stated we do not need sufficient proof,” she stated, including they deliberate to enchantment.
Thai officers had stated Qunun could be despatched again however the Kuwait Airways flight departed on Monday with out her, in accordance with Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Qunun had posted a video of her barricading her lodge room door with furnishings.
She stated she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officers when she arrived on the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi airport and her journey doc was forcibly taken from her, a declare backed by HRW.
Requested if Qunun was in search of asylum, Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn stated: “we have no idea but when anybody desires to hunt asylum, they’ve to attend for these nations to answer”.
Abdulilah al-Shouaibi, cost d’affaires on the Saudi embassy in Bangkok, acknowledged in an interview with Saudi-owned channel Rotana Khalijial that the girl’s father had contacted the diplomatic mission for “assist” to deliver her again.
However he denied that her passport had been seized and that embassy official have been current contained in the airport.
Barricaded in room
If despatched again, Qunun informed AFP she would seemingly be imprisoned and was “positive 100 %” her household would kill her, she informed AFP.
“My household is strict and locked me in a room for six months only for slicing my hair,” she added.
Immigration chief Surachate defended stopping her and argued that in any other case many individuals would use the identical excuse to remain in Thailand.
“Thailand has causes to ship her again which have been primarily based on legislation. We didn’t ship her again to die,” he stated on Fb.
He had stated she was denied entry as a result of she lacked “additional paperwork comparable to return ticket or cash”.
Saudi Arabia’s overseas ministry launched an announcement on Twitter from its Bangkok embassy, disputing her account.
“Her passport was not impounded by the Saudi embassy,” it stated, including that she was stopped by Thai authorities for “violating the legislation”.
“She can be deported to the State of Kuwait the place her household” lives, it added. Qunun, nonetheless, informed AFP that she was solely touring within the Gulf state.
HRW’s Robertson stated she “faces grave hurt if she is pressured again to Saudi Arabia”, and that Thailand ought to permit her to see the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and apply for asylum.
“Given Saudi Arabia’s lengthy monitor report of wanting the opposite manner in so-called honor violence incidents, her fear that she may very well be killed if returned can’t be ignored,” he stated. “She has clearly said that she has renounced Islam which additionally places her at critical danger of prosecution by the Saudi Arabian authorities.”
The UNHCR stated that in accordance with the precept of non-refoulement, asylum seekers can’t be returned to their nation of origin if their life is below risk and that it has been making an attempt to hunt entry to Qunun.
The ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom has lengthy been criticized for imposing a few of the world’s hardest restrictions on girls.
That features a guardianship system that enables males to train arbitrary authority to make selections on behalf of their feminine kinfolk.
Along with dealing with punishment for “ethical” crimes, girls may also develop into the goal of “honor killings” by the hands of their households, activists say.