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BANGKOK 22 February 2019 15:19
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Fearing for Saudi teen's safety, Canada refugee agency hires guard

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Fearing for Saudi teen's safety, Canada refugee agency hires guard

By Anna Mehler Paperny

 

2019-01-15T221159Z_2_LYNXNPEF0E1K2_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-SAUDI-CANADA.JPG

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family, speaks at the COSTI Corvetti Education Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

 

TORONTO (Reuters) - Amid threats to the safety of Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed, who was granted asylum in Canada, the Toronto agency helping her has hired a security guard to ensure "she is never alone" as she starts a normal life, its executive director said on Tuesday.

 

Mohammed, 18, made international headlines after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Thailand's capital Bangkok to avoid being sent home to her family due to fears of being harmed or killed. The family denies any abuse.

 

The teen has received multiple threats online that have made her fear for her safety, said Mario Calla, executive director of Costi, a refugee agency contracted by the Canadian government to help her settle in Toronto.

 

Costi has hired a security guard and plans to "make sure she is never alone," Calla told reporters. "It's hard to say how serious these threats are. We're taking them seriously."

 

Mohammed, who has renounced her family name al-Qunun, gave a public statement in Toronto on Tuesday that was read on her behalf in English by a settlement worker.

 

"I understand that everyone here and around the world wishes me well and would like to continue to hear about how I am doing, but ... I would like to start living a normal private life, just like any other young woman living in Canada," she said in the statement read by Saba Abbas.

 

Canada's agreement to take Mohammed comes at a delicate time for Canada-Saudi relations. Last year the kingdom froze all new investment with Canada after foreign minister Chrystia Freeland called for the immediate release of jailed rights activists.

 

So when Freeland welcomed Mohammed at the Toronto airport in person, some critics argued that might have further provoked Saudi authorities.

 

But Freeland told reporters Tuesday she did what she would have wanted for her own daughter.

 

"I imagined it would be a difficult and perhaps frightening moment and it might make a difference for her personally to feel she had the personal and welcome support of our government."

 

Mohammed thanked the Canadian and Thai governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for making her move to Canada possible.

 

"I am one of the lucky ones," she said. "I know that there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not do anything to change their reality."

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-01-16

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hired a security guard to ensure "she is never alone" as she starts a normal life

 

So it's "normal" to have a guard hanging around 24/7  😱

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7 minutes ago, theguyfromanotherforum said:

God, she's a beauty.

sic mind...

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Security guard?

 

Wha not change her name, may be her appearance and let hjer live in an undisclosed location?

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4 hours ago, theguyfromanotherforum said:

God, she's a beauty.

Makes you regret leaving the land of lumberjacks so soon and returning to Los, perhaps?

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4 hours ago, Sir Dude said:

So many Islamic nutjobs everywhere now and they will not rest until she is gone, even if it takes years. It's not the fleeing that riles them up so much, it's the renunciation of the religion that will keep their hatred all fired up forever...rather like Salman Rushdie is still at the top of their list as well after all this time.

Good point, but does Rushdie still have bodyguards?

 

Genuine question as I don't know.

 

How has he managed to survive all these years?

 

Another genuine question, as again I don't know.

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4 hours ago, neeray said:

If the Saudis mean ill will, I agree, she'll need an army to protect against these butchers.

But I imagine there are many safety measures in place that the general public will never be aware of.

 

19 minutes ago, sweatalot said:

Security guard?

 

Wha not change her name, may be her appearance and let hjer live in an undisclosed location?

I doubt the Saudi's will act quickly against her, as it would be too obvious - but her family may.  In which case 'flag' them at Canadian Immigration?

 

This wouldn't stop hired assassins of course, if her family are prepared to go that far.  But again, it would be more than a bit obvious, and would only increase anti-Saudi sentiment - so hopefully they wouldn't stoop to these levels.

 

'Hopefully' is, I agree, not good enough - so clearly she needs a bodyguard for a while until her family get over their initial anger.

 

Changing her name and moving her to an undisclosed location has to be the best course of action, but surgery to change her face??  A step too far, unless she wants this course of action to make her even less detectable.

 

As mentioned in my previous post, Rushdie has managed to survive so probably best to look at how he 'worked around' the problems (along with Mala Yousef) to see her way forward.

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