Why women are fleeing Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia

Why women are fleeing Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia

Madawi al-Rasheed writes:

Saudi Arabia is facing a social problem that requires an urgent political solution. Women runaways, estimated to be over 1,000 cases, are now regular news. Rahaf al-Qunun, the 18-year-old who was stranded at Bangkok airport on her way to Australia, was put under UN custody to be accepted as an asylum seeker.

After blockading herself in a hotel room and broadcasting her plight and fears of being forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia, she finally reached Canada where she expects to lead a normal life.

The Saudi government may have tried but failed to forcibly repatriate her. In similar cases in the past, Saudi embassy staff intervened and forced the airport authorities to cooperate and bring the girls back. Rahaf may be lucky but Dina Ali Lasloom wasn’t.

In April 2017, Lasloom publicised her case from Manilla airport: “They took my passport and locked me up for 13 hours … if my family comes they will kill me. If I go back to Saudi Arabia I will be dead. Please help me”.

Thousands of miles away from Saudi Arabia, the 24-year-old was arrested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila while she was in transit on her way to Sydney. Two uncles, who arrived to return her to Saudi Arabia, kidnapped her from the airport.

She screamed and kicked as they forced her to board Saudia Airline flight SV871 to Jeddah. [Continue reading…]

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