January 7, 2019 / 4:58 AM / 6 months ago

Saudi woman, 18, barricades self in Thai hotel to avoid being sent home

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman who claims to be fleeing her country and family, speaks in a room in Bangkok, Thailand, January 6, 2019, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. @rahaf84427714/via REUTERS

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An 18-year-old Saudi woman who says she is fleeing family abuse barricaded herself inside her transit hotel room at Bangkok airport to avoid being sent home by Thai authorities, a rights group said on Monday.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun was scheduled to be sent on a Kuwait Airways flight to Kuwait City, where her family is, on Monday morning.

“She has barricaded herself in the room & says she will not leave” until she is allowed to meet the U.N. refugee agency and claim asylum, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said on Twitter.

Qunun was refused entry on Saturday by Thai immigration officials. Thai authorities deny acting at the request of the Saudi government and say she did not have the correct documents for a visa on arrival.

Editing by Paul Tait

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