HOPE

Australia Weighing Asylum for Saudi Teen Who Fled Family

Australia’s government is considering granting asylum to the 18-year-old Saudi woman who barricaded herself in a hotel at Bangkok International Airport, where she claimed her family would kill her if she returned to the repressive kingdom. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun held a tourist visa for Australia when she slipped away from her family during a visit to Kuwait and boarded a plane to Bangkok over the weekend. However, upon her arrival, al-Qunun said Saudi officials were waiting for her, where they seized her passport and escorted her to the hotel. Thai authorities had said she would be deported, but al-Qunun began posting on Twitter about her predicament and demanded she be considered for asylum. She said she has renounced Islam, and claims that her male relatives will kill her if she returns. She has gathered more than 90,000 followers on Twitter, bringing light to the discrimination and harsh treatment women face in Saudi Arabia.