Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun given refugee status by UN

A Saudi woman who fled her family and refused to leave a Bangkok hotel has been given refugee status by UN, the Australian government says.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, refused to board a flight from Bangkok to Kuwait on Monday and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, reports BBC.

She said she feared her family would kill her for renouncing Islam.

The UN’s refugee agency has referred her case to Australia for possible resettlement.

In a brief statement, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs said it would “consider this referral in the usual way”.

“The government will be making no further comment on this matter,” it said.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun’s father and brother have arrived in Thailand but she is refusing to see them.

Renunciation of Islam, known as apostasy, is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Thai immigration officials had initially said she should return to Kuwait.

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