18-year-old Saudi woman escapes country, finds asylum in Canada

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who wanted to escape an oppressive life slipped away from her family while they were on vacation in Kuwait to board a plane for Thailand, en route to Australia where she hoped to find freedom.

  • In Bangkok, a man was waiting, with her name written on a placard. He disappeared with her passport.
  • Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun barricaded herself in a hotel room to prevent her forced return to Saudi Arabia, where she feared her family would kill her.
  • From behind a mattress she used to block the door, she went on social media to alert the world of her situation. the Twitter hashtag #SaveRahaf was soon trending.
  • The UN granted refugee status, and Canada fast-tracked an application for asylum, opening their doors to her.
  • Alqunun has drawn worldwide attention to the ongoing struggle of Saudi women.

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