Saudi woman who renounced Islam detained on her way to Australia

  • 07/01/2019

A young Saudi woman trying to flee her family after renouncing Islam is stranded in Bangkok.

Eighteen-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun says a Saudi diplomat seized her passport on arrival.

She is trying to reach Australia, amid fears her family will kill her. She has a visa to enter Australia, and says she's trying to escape a marriage.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch says Thai officials need to intervene.

"Thailand should allow the UN refugee agency to have access to her."

She is currently in a hotel in the transit area, BBC News reported.

"I shared my story and my pictures on social media and my father is so angry because I did this," she told the British news broadcaster. "I can't study and work in my country, so I want to be free and study and work as I want."

Thai police said she doesn't have a visa to enter Thailand, and were planning to send her back on the same airline she arrived on - Kuwait Airlines.

BBC News reports Saudi citizens are usually allowed to apply for a Thai visa on arrival, and it's not clear why she'd need one, since she's in transit to Australia.

Ms al-Qunun said on Twitter she's publicised her plight because she's "got nothing to lose" now.