January 7, 2019 / 9:53 AM / 8 months ago

Thailand halts plan to expel Saudi woman fleeing family

A Thai immigartion police is seen in front of a hotel inside transit area at Suvarnabhumi Airport where Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who claims to be fleeing her family has barricaded herself inside a room in Bangkok, Thailand January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand on Monday reversed plans to expel an 18-year-old Saudi woman stranded at Bangkok airport after fleeing her family from Kuwait due to concerns over her safety, the immigration chief said.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, has been stranded at Bangkok airport since Saturday when she was denied entry by Thai immigration officials.

On Monday, she barricaded herself inside an airport transit hotel to avoid being escorted to board a Kuwait Airways flight scheduled for that morning.

“The flight this morning was via Kuwait Airlines to send her back to Saudi Arabia,” chief of immigration police Surachate Hakparn told reporters.

He also told reporters he would meet UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, later in the day to discuss her asylum plans.

Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Nick Macfie

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