BANGKOK – Thailand’s Immigration Police chief says the father of 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun who fled her family to seek asylum abroad denies physically abusing her or trying to force her into an arranged marriage.
The father said he wants his daughter back but respects her decision.
Her father, whose name has not been released, said he believes his daughter fled because she felt neglected. Police Lt. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said the father is a governor in Saudi Arabia and has 10 children.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun’s father and brother arrived together in Bangkok on Tuesday but Alqunun has refused to meet them.
Human rights group Amnesty International says it welcomes the decision by a U.N. body to grant refugee status to a young Saudi woman who was stopped in Thailand as she was trying to flee her allegedly abusive family.
Australia’s Home Affairs Department confirmed Wednesday that the office of the U.N. High Commissioner had referred 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to the country for resettlement consideration.
Amnesty International said in a statement that Alqunun’s case had inspired millions and should remind people of the bravery and sacrifices of people who flee their native lands for safety.
It praised Thailand for its actions in Alqunun’s case, but said the country had not treated other asylum-seekers in the same responsible manner.