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Australia to 'carefully consider' Saudi woman's asylum plea

AFP  |  Sydney 

on Tuesday vowed to consider an 18-year-old Saudi woman's plea for asylum, further easing fears she could be forcibly returned home.

Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun's desperate bid to reach will be "carefully considered" if the deems she is at risk, an told AFP. Qunun, fleeing alleged abuse by her conservative family, says she tried to reach on a tourist visa.

But she was stopped en route by authorities in at the request of the Saudi government, which demanded the woman return to her family.

Qunun barricaded herself in a airport hotel room, refusing to leave and posting determined calls for asylum on to draw attention to her plight.

She is currently being assessed by the UN's refugee agency.

Human rights activists had expressed concerns that -- which takes a hard line on immigration -- may revoke her tourist visa.

The did not confirm or deny if the visa had been revoked, but said it would make no difference to her bid to reach Australia.

"Any application by Ms Al-Qunun for a humanitarian visa will be carefully considered once the UNHCR process has concluded," the said.

"Whether someone holds a visitor visa does not have a bearing on this process." Australia had quietly pressed authorities in to grant the UN access to Qunun, and now wants the matter dealt with quickly.

"The government has made representations to the and the office of the UNHCR about its serious concerns on this matter and the need for Ms Al-Qunun's claim to be assessed expeditiously," the official said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 15:45 IST