Bangkok airportCopyright of the image
Reuters

Legend

Rahaf Mohammed al Qunun said his passport was seized at Bangkok airport

A young Saudi woman says she is stranded at Bangkok's main airport after fleeing her family and having her passport seized by a Saudi official.

Rahaf Mohammed al Qunun, 18, said that she was traveling to Kuwait with her family when she fled on a plane two days ago.

She was trying to travel to Australia via a connecting flight to Bangkok.

She told the BBC that she had renounced Islam and feared being forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia and killed by her family.

Bangkok's Jonathan Head of the BBC said Ms. Mohammed al-Qunun was frightened and confused. She says that she has an Australian visa but that her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat when he met her while he had just boarded the plane at the airport. 39, Suvarnabhumi Airport.

A Saudi envoy in Bangkok denied any official involvement of Saudi Arabia in the detention of Ms. Mohammed al-Qunun.

"The embassy does not have the power to arrest (anyone) at the airport or anywhere else," Abdellilah al-Shaayibi told Sabq's news website. "She was arrested by the airport authorities because she had violated Thai laws".

Thai police chief Surachate Hakparn told the BBC that Ms. Mohammed al-Qunun was fleeing a wedding. Having no visa to enter Thailand, he stated that the police had refused and was repatriating her by the same airline that she had borrowed, Kuwait Airways, Monday morning .

General Surachate stated that he was unaware of any passport seizure.

He told AFP that it was "a family problem" and that the "teenager" did not have any other documents such as than [a] return ticket or money ".

However, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia, told the BBC: "It appears that the Thai government is telling a story that it tried to apply for a visa and was denied. .. in fact, she had a ticket going to Australia, she did not want to enter Thailand in the first place. "

He argued that the Thai authorities had clearly cooperated with Saudi Arabia since Saudi officials had been able to meet the plane upon arrival.

Ms. Mohammed al-Qunun told BBC Newshour that she was now in a hotel in the transit zone.

She said: "I shared my story and my photos on social media and my father is so angry because I did so.I can not study and work in my country. So I wish to be free and study and work as I want. "

Ms. Mohammed al-Qunun wrote on Twitter that she had decided to share her name and details as she had "nothing left to lose" now.

She also shared a photo of her passport "because I want you to know that I am real and that I exist".

Another tweet said, "I'm afraid my family will kill me."

The case echoes that of another Saudi woman who was in transit to Australia in April 2017.

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, was en route from Kuwait via the Philippines, but was brought back to Saudi Arabia from Manila Airport by her family.

She used the phone of a Canadian tourist to send a message. A video was posted on Twitter indicating that her family would kill her.

His fate on his return to Saudi Arabia remains unknown.