An 18-year-old woman detained in Thailand after fleeing from her family in Saudi Arabia barricaded herself a in a hotel room to prevent immigration officials from putting her on a flight to Kuwait.
In videos made from the airport hotel in Bangkok, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun said her family was abusive and she would be killed if she returned to Saudi Arabia. According to Reuters, she escaped from Kuwait while her family was visiting the gulf country and had planned to go to Australia via Thailand to seek asylum.
She was detained after getting off her plane in Bangkok, with the claim that her family had filed a missing person report, and her passport was confiscated. When asked why she was fleeing her family, Qunun said, “Physical, emotional and verbal abuse and being imprisoned inside the house for months. They threaten to kill me and prevent me from continuing my education.”
In a video posted on social media, Qunun was seen blocking the door with furniture and vowing not to leave the room until she had met representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to NPR, Thai authorities reversed their earlier position and decided not to deport her after human rights groups and western embassies called on the Thai government to allow her to leave. In an update on twitter, Qunun said she was under the protection of UNHCR and got her passport back.