Saudi teen Rahaf on her way to Canada

Saudi teen Rahaf on her way to Canada


National News
Saudi woman Rahaf Alqunun (R) has left Thailand for Canada, a Thai immigration official says.

Saudi woman Rahaf Alqunun (R) has left Thailand for Canada, a Thai immigration official says.

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An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled alleged abuse by her family is on her way to a new life in Canada after she was granted asylum. The Australian government...

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An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled alleged abuse by her family is on her way to a new life in Canada after she was granted asylum.

The Australian government has welcomed the news, saying Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun's safety was its primary concern.

The refugee boarded a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul late on Friday night before catching a connecting flight to Canada.

At the time, Australian officials were still weighing offering her asylum, Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Saturday.

"We have been working with the UNHCR and international partners to ensure her claim is assessed appropriately," he said in a statement.

"We wish Ms Alqunun all the best for her future in Canada."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was pleased to welcome Ms Alqunun.

"That is something that we are pleased to do because Canada is a country that understands how important it is to stand up for human rights and to stand up for woman's rights around the world," Mr Trudeau said.

Ms Alqunun garnered worldwide attention after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok and began tweeting that her life was in danger if she were forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

Canada's ambassador saw Ms Alqunun off at the airport and she looked happy and healthy, said Thailand's immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn.

"She chose Canada. It's her personal decision," General Surachate told The Associated Press.

Earlier, there had been conflicting reports on where she would go.

Ms Alqunun had told the Daily Mail Australia on Friday she was happy to "start a new life" in Australia and that she had been provided with an apartment for three months although she didn't know where it would be.

Australian government sources denied the Daily Mail report.

The Australian newspaper, however, reported she was likely to go to Canada after the United Nations High Commission for Refugees withdrew its referral to Australia to take Ms Alqunun as a refugee.

Australian Associated Press

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