Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the young Saudi woman who fled her family, is expected Saturday in Canada, who has decided to grant her asylum.
The decision was released Friday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country is at odds with Ryad on human rights.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, says he wants to escape the psychological and physical abuse of his family. She was already on her way to Toronto – where she was expected Saturday morning – when Mr. Trudeau made his announcement.
"We have granted him asylum, because we like to do so because Canada is a country that recognizes the importance of maintaining human rights and women's rights around the world, and I can confirm that we have accepted the UN's request," Prime Minister to reporters shortly after the Thai authorities announced the departure of the young Saudi woman in Canada.
This announcement comes to close a case that lasted a week and that the young woman had made herself public by hastily making a Twitter account. During her trip to Kuwait with her family, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun decided to flee her parents last weekend by flying to Bangkok, where she had been arrested.
After the announcement of his case, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun was placed under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Thailand and filed an asylum application with several countries, including Australia in a number of countries. first time.
The decision of Canada can increase the tensions between Ryad and Ottawa. Saudi Arabia announced the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador in August, reminded him of it and froze new trade or investment with Canada, following Ottawa's denunciation of the arrest of Saudi human rights activists, including Samar Badaoui, sister of imprisoned blogger Raef Badaoui, whose wife and three children live in Quebec.
"The formal request (asylum) has been sent by the UN to Canada, we respect our commitments to the UN The country of origin (Saudi Arabia, editor) is not involved in the process," AFP simply told a Canadian government official to be anonymous.
– "Quick actions" –
Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raef Badaoui, also emphasized the role of the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in welcoming the young Saudi woman in Canada. "She is the real heroine who prevented her from being sent back from Thailand to Kuwait," she tweeted.
Thailand initially intended to return it to its country at the request of the Saudi authorities. But the young woman had barricaded herself in a hotel room on the airport grounds by posting a multitude of messages and videos on Twitter that are desperate and immediately gain international fame.
She also told Human Rights Watch that she wanted to abandon Islam, making her "in grave danger", the NGO said.
After a mobilization in his favor on social networks, the Thai authorities, who often push at the border, had abandoned their resignation and left Monday with representatives of the airport. UNHCR.
On Friday, the UNHCR praised the "quick actions" of the Thai and Canadian governments in the last week, which he said were "decisive for the resolution of this case".
"I want to thank the people who have supported me and saved my life, with kind regards, I never dreamed of this love and support," tweeted Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun Friday night.
The Thai police said the father and brother of the young woman had gone to Bangkok, but "refused to see them".
Saudi Arabia is one of the most restrictive countries in the world for the rights of women. In particular, they are subject to custody of a man (father, spouse or other) who exercises arbitrary authority over him and makes important decisions in their place.
The Qunun affair took on a special dimension after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Canadian government also confirmed to AFP that Justin Trudeau would meet Raef Badaoui's wife earlier this week on a trip to Sherbrooke, a town 150 miles east of Montreal. "Our wish remains that he will be released and reunited with his family," said Chantal Gagnon, spokesperson for Mr. Trudeau.