Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is granted stay in Thailand after fleeing Saudi

Rahaf told AFP she was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti officials when she arrived in Suvarnabhumi airport

The 18-year-old said she had planned to seek asylum in Australia, fearing she would be killed if sent back by Thai immigration officials who stopped her at the airport on Sunday. But an hour later, officials told her they knew she had fled her family and that they would send her back to them in Kuwait.

Lawmakers and activists in Australia and Britain urged their governments to grant asylum to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who was finally allowed by Thailand to enter the country late on Monday, after almost 48 hours stranded at Bangkok airport under threat of being expelled.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun tweeted that her father had arrived, "which anxious and scared me a lot", but said she felt safe "under UNHCR protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities".

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thailand should not send miss Qunun back to her family because she says she faces danger. Without evidence, such as threatening texts, video or photos of abuse, a woman's case for asylum can be rejected in the United States, for example. "They need to go to the airport".

Qunun said in a tweet that she was concerned that her father had just arrived in the country.

"Understand starting from today the UNHCR will interview Rahaf in refugee determination process and then discuss refugee resettlement options with possible destination countries", he tweeted.

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But this has reached, I think, a situation now where the Thai Government has to uphold their promise that she will be safe. "And I finally got my passport back".

An evaluation of her case and claims for asylum is set to take around five to seven days.

"We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her".

Saudi Arabia's embassy in Thailand denied reports that Riyadh requested the extradition of Alqanun. "The embassy considers this issue a family matter", the embassy said in a post on Twitter.

Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said he had had no contact with Saudi officials or Thailand's foreign minister before Qunun's arrival.

Upon landing, she said she was held by Saudi embassy officials and had her passport confiscated.

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She has been granted a temporary stay in the Southeast Asian country, under the protection of the UNHCR, which will spend about a week processing her asylum claim.

Surachate later alleged that Kuwait Airways had been at fault for allowing Alqunun to board her flight to Thailand without having proper travel documents.

She was allowed to stay in Thailand for five days while the United Nations was considering her asylum request, said immigration chief Surachate. She was forced to return to Saudi Arabia and was not publicly heard from again, according to activists tracking her whereabouts. "Her family kept her alone in the house for - I think for more than six months - because she cut her hair", she told the BBC. A spokesman for Kuwait Airways said he had no information about the case, Reuters reported.

Thai authorities say they will not facilitate her forced deportation. She has said she wants to go to Australia to seek refuge there. They threaten to kill me and prevent me from continuing my education. I hope many powerful people across the Arab world are starting to realise they can't hide behind their power much longer. Talking to MailOnline, Rahaf described her fear of being murdered if she was returned to her male family members.

Ms Hanson-Young said Australia should offer "sanctuary" to Ms Qunan so she can live in a country that "respects women and girls".

Under Saudi Arabia's strict male guardianship laws, women must have the consent of a male relative to travel, obtain a passport or marry.

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Alqunun's circumstance is similar to other Saudi women who have used social media trying to escape abusive relatives and other problems in the extremely conservative nation.

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