Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, right, walks with an unidentified companion in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Alqunun, the 18-year old Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum, remains in Thailand under the care of the U.N. refugee agency as she awaits a decision by a third country to accept her as a refugee. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Saudi woman fleeing alleged abuse expected in Canada

January 12, 2019 - 12:00 am

TORONTO (AP) — An 18-year-old Saudi runaway who said she was abused and feared death if deported back home is expected to arrive Saturday in Canada, which has granted her asylum.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will accept Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun as a refugee. It caps a dramatic week that saw her flee her family while visiting Kuwait and before flying to Bangkok, where she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation. The case grabbed global attention after she mounted a social media campaign for asylum.

It highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women fleeing abuse by their families were caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and returned home. Human rights activists say many similar cases go unreported.

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