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Saudi Woman That Renounced Islam And Fled Country Declared Refugee By United Nations

A Saudi woman that gained international attention after fleeing her family and barricading herself in a Bangkok hotel has been declared a refugee by the United Nations, which has referred her case to Australian officials for possible resettlement. Eighteen-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun on Monday refused to board a flight from the Thai capital to Kuwait—where she had been vacationing with her family before absconding—over fears that she would be punished by authorities for renouncing Islam, a “crime” that carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. Refugee status is generally granted by governments, although the UNHCR, which has not commented on the case, can bestow it when nations are “unable or unwilling to do so.” Al-Qunun contends that her “life is in danger” and that “family [members] threaten to kill [her] for the most trivial things.”