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Saudi woman in Bangkok to be returned home against her will

Saudi woman in Bangkok to be returned home against her will

Immigration chief Surachate said Sunday that Qunun was denied entry because she lacked "further documents such as return ticket or money", and Thailand had contacted the "Saudi Arabia embassy to coordinate".

"Saudi women fleeing their families can face severe violence from relatives, deprivation of liberty, and other serious harm if returned against their will", said Michael Page, HRW deputy Middle East director.

The friends of a young Saudi woman seeking asylum in Australia claimed she was nearly forcibly dragged on a flight from Thailand to Kuwait by diplomatic staff trying to deport her.

"They took my passport", she told AFP, adding that her male guardian had reported her for traveling "without his permission".

The UNHCR said that according to the principle of non-refoulement, asylum seekers can not be returned to their country of origin if their life is under threat.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, said she renounced her religion, Islam, and now fears for her life if repatriated as planned on early January 7.

If sent back, she said she would likely be imprisoned, and is "sure 100 percent" her family will kill her, she told AFP.

"I ask the. government of Thailand.to stop my deportation to Kuwait", she said on Twitter.

She said she is now confined inside a hotel room at the airport, under the guard of men she said were from the Saudi embassy and Kuwait airlines.

They deny acting at the request of the Saudi government.

Earlier, Robertson tweeted a brief video of her in her room, saying simply, " I'm not leaving my room until I see UNHCR.

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Rehaf wanted to travel to Australia where she wanted to seek asylum, fearining that her abusive family will kill her if she returns.

"She will be deported back to the State of Kuwait where her family live".

Robertson also said there's been clear coordination between the Thai government and the Saudis on her.

And shortly after noon Monday, the Germany's ambassador to Thailand, Georg Schmidt, posted a message of concern on his verified Twitter account about her case, which he said he was conveying to Thai authorities.

"What country allows diplomats to wander around the closed section of the airport and seize the passports of the passengers?" he said, adding that there is "impunity" within the family unit in Saudi Arabia to abuse women. She explained she tried to head to Australia, via Bangkok, to seek asylum but had her passport seized by a Saudi official.

Qunun has barricaded herself in her hotel room in fear that Thai immigration officials, who have congregated outside her hotel room door, would force her on to a plane to leave the country.

She told the BBC that she had renounced Islam, and feared she would be forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia and killed by her family.

While Saudi Arabia has gradually granted women more rights as part of an economic overhaul led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the conservative kingdom still applies a guardianship system that makes women legal dependents of male relatives.

He compared her case to that of Dina Ali Lasloom, who was detained by Saudi officials in Manila when she tried to seek asylum in Australia in April a year ago.

The incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny on Saudi Arabia over its investigation and handling of the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi previous year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record. "I'm in real danger because the Saudi embassy trying to forcing me to go back to Saudi Arabia, while I'm at the airport waiting for my second flight".

The Saudi embassy in Thailand and officials in Riyadh could not be reached for immediate comment.