Saudi teen refugee arrives in Canada

Saudi teen refugee arrives in Canada

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A Saudi teenager who fled her family and got stranded at a Bangkok airport has arrived in Canada after being granted asylum there.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, had been trying to reach Australia via Bangkok but was initially told to return to Kuwait, where her family were waiting.

She refused to fly back and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, attracting international attention.

She said she had renounced Islam, which is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the teenager as “a very brave new Canadian” but said that Ms al-Qunun was tired from her ordeal and long journey and would not be making any public statement on Saturday.

“She is a very brave young woman who has been through a lot… and she is now going to go to her new home,” the minister added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier told reporters that his country had granted a request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to grant asylum.

“Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world,” he said.

She arrived in Pearson International Airport on a Korean Air flight from Seoul on Saturday.

She had tweeted photos that appeared to show her aboard the jet just before take-off, with the words, “I did it!”__BBC

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