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Western leaders turn their back on young Saudi dissident stranded in Thailand

A young woman fears for her life as she may be soon deported back to Saudi Arabia.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, 18, of Saudi Arabia, is currently in Thailand and desperately trying to avoid a pending deportation order.

Ranaf wanted to escape her abusive family and a forced marriage to older man in Saudi Arabia, when she got on a plane to Thailand with the hope of claiming asylum in Australia. She had a stopover in Thailand, and while transfering to her next flight, she was confronted by a man who claimed he was going to help her get asylum. He seized her passport instead.

Now she’s trapped in Bangkok and desperately trying to attract international attention in the hopes that someone, anyone, in the Western world will be able to help her.

She was set to be forced onto a plane at 4:15 am EST, Monday morning.

Ranaf told the BBC that she renounced Islam, a crime in Saudi Arabia, and that she no longer considers herself a Muslim. This will make things even worse for the young dissident, as the punishment for apostasy is death in the Saudi Kingdom.  

Rahaf fears that she will be abused or killed by her family if she returns home. She will now also have to deal with the wrath of the tyrannical Saudi regime and its Islamist fundamentalist legal system, known as Sharia Law.

While her situation is bleak, Rahaf has received an outpouring of support from around the world, with many activists and journalists trying to help her.

Activist Ensaf Haider, a Canadian whose husband remains in a Saudi prison for insulting the Islam, claimed on Twitter to have had a promising phone call with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. “There is a lot of hope guys #SaveRanaf,” she wrote

Many on social media are questioning why countries with extensive records of taking in refugees are not acting at a time of a young woman’s immediate danger.

These criticisms have also been aimed at international bodies.

“Where are you UN @Refugees Agency?” asked Sun News columnist Tarek Fatah.

“Where are your highly paid staff members who are supposed to help victims of barbarism such as Rahaf who is facing death in Saudi Arabia and held in Bangkok,” said Fatah.

Thailand has a record of denying asylum to persons in danger in their home country, claimed a Human Rights Watch official. However, in a surprising turn of events, Thailand authorities said they won’t be repatriating Alqunun after her lawyers filed an injunction to avoid her deportation order.

No nation, including Canada, has made a statement in her favour.

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