UPDATE: Father and brother traveling to Thailand to speak to Saudi 18 year old

The father and brother of a the Saudi 18 year old, whose plea for asylum is making international headlines, are travelling to Thailand later today to give their accounts to the UN refugee agency, the Thai Immigration police chief said on Tuesday.

But Immigration Chief, Surachet Hakparn says, if they wished to speak to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who ran away from her family during their trip to Kuwait, it would be up to the girl.

Surachet will act as a mediator in their talks with the UN High Commission for Refugees representatives, if the meeting goes ahead.

“I believe the father and brother of al-Qunun want to give information to the UNHCR for it to have both sides of the story. I think this will be fair to both sides.”

He was speaking after meeting Abdalelah Mohammed Alsheaiby, the charge d’affaires at the Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Bangkok, while discussing Thailand’s stance on al-Qunun’s high profile case.

Al-Qunun was detained on arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport during transit while en route to Australia. She alleged that she was being subjected to physical and psychological abuse by her family.

She planned to seek asylum in Australia and expressed fears that she would be killed if she were sent back to Saudi Arabia by Thai Immigration officials who had detained her at the airport.

Surachet claims that she was stopped at the request of her family who alerted the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency says that it has taken into its care the Saudi woman who made the desperate plea for asylum after being apprehended at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The agency says in a statement that it will take “several days” to assess her claims before taking further steps. The refugee agency also applauded Thailand for its decision to halt their deportation of Al-qunun and allow UNHCR staff to talk to her and assess her status.

“We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back Al-qunun against her will and are extending protection for her,” said UNHCR’s representative in Thailand, Giuseppe de Vicentiis, in the statement.

SOURCES: The Nation


Bangkok News

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