Saudi teenager who fled family arrives in Canada

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The Saudi teenager who fled her “abusive” family to seek asylum abroad has arrived in Canada.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun used Twitter to help prevent her deportation from Thailand when she was stopped en route to Australia last weekend.

The 18-year-old was fleeing Saudi Arabia and said she feared her relatives would kill her if she was returned to the kingdom.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise announcement on Friday that the North American country would take her in.

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Video: Rahaf Alqunun’s flight arrives in Canada as she seeks asylum having fled Saudi Arabia.

Mr Trudeau said: “Canada has been unequivocal that we’ll stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world.

“When the United Nations made a request of us that we grant Alqunun’s asylum, we accepted.”

Officials had heavily hinted that the teenager was bound for Australia where she had originally intended to seek asylum.

Canada’s move is sure to further strain its relations with the Arab kingdom.

The North American country criticised the rights record of Saudi Arabia in August, prompting Riyadh to expel the Canadian ambassador and sever all trade an investment ties in protest.

Canada also sparked fury in Riyadh by demanding the “immediate release” of jailed rights campaigners, including Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, whose family lives in Quebec.

Ms Alqunun’s attempt to flee Saudi Arabia was embraced by rights groups as a beacon of defiance against repression.

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Thai authorities initially threatened to deport her when she arrived in Bangkok after fleeing her family during a trip to Kuwait.

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