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Saudi asylum seeker in Thailand pulls Twitter account over 'threats'

AFP  |  Bangkok 

The 18-year-old Saudi asylum seeker who fled her family to and harnessed the power of to stave off deportation on Friday abruptly suspended her account, with friends saying she had received death threats.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun's attempt to flee the ultra-conservative kingdom has been embraced by rights groups as a beacon of defiance against repression.

Thai authorities initially threatened to deport her after she arrived in from last weekend.

But armed with a and a hastily opened account, she forced a U-turn from Thai immigration police who handed her into the care of the UN's refugee agency as the #SaveRahaf hashtag case bounced across the world.

Qunun alleges abuse by her family - who deny the allegations - and rights groups also said she had renounced Islam, risking prosecution in conservative On Friday afternoon she posted a final cryptic tweet on her profile saying "I have some good and some bad news" - shortly after her account was deactivated.

"Rahaf received death threats and for this reason she closed her account, please save Rahaf life," tweeted supporter @nourahfa313, who has flanked Rahaf's campaign with her own updates on Twitter.

"I understand that there have been death threats against her but I don't know the details," said from Human Rights Watch, adding even threats from need to be taken seriously.

Rahaf's swift use of Twitter saw her amass more than 100,000 followers within a week, highlighting her plight and allowing her to avoid the fate of countless other refugees who are quietly sent back home or languish in detention centres.

Though her asylum case has moved at lightning speed the mystery over which country will accept Rahaf remains.

has dropped the strongest hints so far after the UN urged the country to accept her but its said this week that it was still assessing the request.

Thailand's told reporters Friday that as far as he knows there are "two or three" countries who could offer asylum.

The Southeast Asian country is not a signatory to a convention on refugees and asylum seekers must be referred to a third country.

Until that happens she is under the care of UNHCR in

She has refused to see her father who travelled to and expressed opposition to her resettlement.

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

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 16:45 IST
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