Canberra to decide Saudi's fate after United Nations refugee ruling

BBC asks if Muslim teenager who fled Saudi ‘should be killed for leaving Islam’

BBC asks if Muslim teenager who fled Saudi ‘should be killed for leaving Islam’

She quashed speculation that Alqunun might accompany her back to Australia, "because there are steps which are required in the process which Australia, and any other country considering such a matter, would have to go through".

Qunun alleged that she was abused by her family - who deny the allegations - and rights groups also said she had renounced Islam, risking prosecution in Saudi Arabia. Human rights activists say many more similar cases will have gone unreported.

"Canada has granted her asylum", Surachate told Reuters.

Saudi teenager Rahaf Alqunun has been granted asylum in Canada and has left Thailand, President Justin Trudeau confirmed.

"The UNHCR has made a request of Canada that we accept Ms.al-Qunun as a refugee and we have accepted the UN's request that we grant her asylum", said Trudeau at a news conference in Saskatchewan.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also said there would be no "special treatment" in the case.

With no queue to speak of, it is more like she will have won the lottery if resettled.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has now assessed her case and found she is a refugee.

Following a 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, some of it barricaded in a transit lounge hotel room, she was allowed to enter Thailand and was then processed as a refugee by the UNHCR.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted Alqunon to choose Canada over Australia.

But according to UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards, the organisation can not confirm at this stage whether it has in deed withdrawn its referral to Australia. "It was her wish to go to Canada", Surachate said.

Separately, she told AFP she had suffered physical and psychological abuse from her family, including being locked in her room for six months for cutting her hair. "Not sure when she will resume", tweeted Phil Roberston, Asia director of Human Rights Watch and called on Twitter to shut down those accounts.

"This is so much a victory for everyone who cares about respecting and promoting women's rights, valuing the independence of youth to forge their own way, and demanding governments operate in the light and not darkness", he said in a statement.

Sex Sells (Unless You're a Woman at CES)
However, the organisers later backtracked and mentioned the product didn't fit in any category, be it robotics or drones. They scored it highly enough for it to be among products recognised in the awards, she added.

She was stopped at a Bangkok airport last Saturday by Thai immigration police who denied her entry and seized her passport.

Thai officials initially described her case as a "family problem" and said she would be repatriated back to Kuwait the next day.

Regardless of the uncertainty of her future, Alqunun tweeted that she was "happy" with the decision from the United Nations.

"He has 10 children".

"If I say yes to this question, that means I'm creating problems for the families that don't want to give freedom for their daughters", he told U.S. magazine The Atlantic.

Canada taking Alqunun could further upset Saudi-Canada relations. Among those arrested was Samar Badawi, whose family members fled to Canada in 2015 and have since become Canadian citizens.

"3rd country", she wrote, apparently referring to Canada.

"Canada has always been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world", Trudeau said.

On Friday afternoon Qunun posted a cryptic tweet on her profile saying "I have some good news and some bad news" - shortly afterward, her account was deactivated in response to death threats she had faced, her friends said.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne met Thursday with senior Thai officials in Bangkok.

Al-Araibi was granted permanent residency by the Australian government in recognition of his status as a refugee, she said.

The Australian foreign minister's visit to Thailand will also involve talks on the release of Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi, who has refugee status in Australia but is also held in Bangkok on an Interpol red notice issued on the request of the Bahraini regime. Bahrain is seeking his extradition.

The UN's refugee agency has said it considers her to be a legitimate refugee.

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