Saudi refugee in Canada expects more women to flee homeland

    La saudí Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, de 18 años, al centro, posa con la ministra del Exterior de Canadá, Chrystia Freeland, a la derecha, después de su llegad al aeropuerto internacional Pearson de Toronto, el sábado 12 de enero de 2019. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press vía AP)

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A Saudi woman accepted as a refugee in Canada says in an Australian television interview that she expects her experience will inspire other women to flee her homeland.

    Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, right, walks with an unidentified companion in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Alqunun, the 18-year old Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum, remains in Thailand under the care of the U.N. refugee agency as she awaits a decision by a third country to accept her as a refugee. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview recorded in Toronto and broadcast in Australia on Tuesday that she hopes that the international attention on her escape from oppression in Saudi Arabia will be a catalyst for change.

    The 18-year-old fled her family while visiting Kuwait before flying to Bangkok. Once there, she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation.

    On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would accept Alqunun as a refugee. Her situation has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

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