The Woman Hiding from the Saudis in a Thai Hotel


Griffin Snyder, Writer

Two days ago, a Saudi girl got on a plane from Kuwait and flew to Thailand to escape her abusive family who “threatened to kill her for the smallest things”. She was confronted by a Saudi agent at the Airport, where she planned to take a connecting flight to Australia and apply for asylum, who confiscated her passport. Thai authorities planned to deport her back to Saudi Arabia, but she barricaded herself in a hotel room.

The woman, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, has reached out on social media to share her plight. If she is deported, she could face harsh punishments for abandoning her family (“disobedience”) and possibly even the death penalty for becoming an atheist (“apostasy”). Thai officials originally claimed that they were not collaborating with the Saudis, and that she was taken into custody because she did not qualify for a Thai visa, even though she was trying to make a connecting flight to Australia before a man from the Saudi embassy stopped her.

Thai immigration officials have now reversed their stance in the face of the uproar on social media over her situation, and have said that they will not “send her to her death”. They have pledged to protect her and not allow the Saudi embassy to interfere with Thai affairs. Rahaf remains in her hotel room in Bangkok for now.