A Saudi girl who claims to have fled physical and psychological abuse was sent back to her home country by the Thai authorities.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is being held in a hotel room at a Bangkok airport after being arrested by officials following a flight from Kuwait.
She fled her family, who beat her, threatened her and locked her in a room for six months to get her hair cut when she left the Kingdom for a vacation to Kuwait.
Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch director for Southeast Asia, told Sky News that "this young woman's life is in danger".
Thailand's Minister of Immigration, Surachte Hakparn, said the 18-year-old had tried to enter Thailand, but had been arrested.
He added that Thailand was working with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and that Ms. Alqunun would be sent back to the country on Monday morning.
"She fled her family to avoid the marriage and she fears that she will not be able to return to Saudi Arabia, we sent officials to take care of her now," he said. .
went out of the room to find out if they were watching me closely or not
I am under the sight at any time "I was asked to return to the room"
She checked when I was sent back to Kuwait before 11am of the flight. They must want this to end as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/mwBbKK99NN7
– Rahaf Mohameed (@ rahaf84427714) January 6, 2019
Ms. Alqunun gave another account, claiming that she was in transit to apply for asylum in Australia, where she had a visa to travel, and had been arrested by Saudi and Kuwaiti officials upon her arrival in Bangkok. .
She added that her passport had been seized by the Saudi authorities, preventing her from continuing her journey, and that she had been told that she would be returned to Kuwait by air on Monday.
Now, in a hotel room at Suvarnabhumi Airport, she tweets videos suggesting that she is being closely watched by the authorities.
Human Rights Watch has backed up its account.
Robertson told Sky News that Alqunun had planned to flee to Australia and that Thailand was making "fake stories" about the teenager applying for a visa in the country.
After being denied the right to travel to her intended destination, she now hopes to seek asylum in Thailand, he said, and urged the United Nations Refugee Commission to help this teenager.
Saudi Arabia imposes extreme restrictions on women, including a guardianship system that allows men to exercise their authority and make decisions on their behalf.
In a case similar to that of Ms. Alqunun in 2017, Dina Ali Lasloom was arrested in the Philippines while she was trying to flee to Australia and is sent back to Saudi Arabia, which caused an international outcry.
Robertson warned that this could "happen again" with Ms. Alqunun's case.
"What we have seen, especially with the Thai military government, is a willingness to send people back on the road to life," he said.
He added that Mrs. Alqunun "has the right to leave a country and return to it as it pleases".