A court in Thailand today rejected an attempt to block the deportation of an 18-year-old Saudi woman who made a desperate plea for asylum, stating she feared for her life after escaping an abusive family. AFP quoted Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun as saying that she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.
She said she had planned to travel to Australia and seek asylum there, and feared she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.
This comes after intense scrutiny of Saudi Arabia over its investigation and handling of the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record. Human rights lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman filed an injunction to block her deportation but it was rejected by Bangkok's criminal court. "They dismissed the request, she reportedly said and added: They said we do not have enough evidence," she said, adding they planned to appeal. Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 allegedly by agents of the Saudi government.