The UN refugee agency on Tuesday said it was investigating the case of an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand saying she feared her family would kill her and barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to avoid being sent back.
Lawmakers and activists in Australia and Britain urged their governments to grant asylum to Rahaf Mohammed al Qunun, who was finally allowed by Thailand to enter the country late on Monday, after nearly 48 hours stranded at Bangkok airport under threat of being expelled.
The Australian government teased the possibility of granting the young woman refugee status, saying it was "pleased" the UN was assessing her claim and that any application for a humanitarian visa will be "carefully considered" once the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) process concludes.
Qunun is staying in a Bangkok hotel with her application for refugee status being processed by the UNHCR before she can seek asylum in a third country.
UNHCR staff were interviewing her on Tuesday after meeting her the day before.
"It could take several days to process the case and determine next steps," UNHCR's Thailand representative Giuseppe de Vincentiis said in a statement.
"We are very grateful that the Thai authorities did not send back [Qunun] against her will and are extending protection to her," he said.
TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis has more.
Qunun grabbed global attention when she sent out pleas for help via social media, saying she feared for her life if she were put on a plane back to Kuwait, where she had slipped away from her family, or to her homeland. She told the BBC that she had renounced Islam and was fearful of her father's retaliation.
The case has drawn new global attention to Saudi Arabia's human rights' record, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male guardian to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.
It comes at a time when Riyadh is facing global criticism for the murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who was killed in October in Istanbul in the Saudi consulate by a hit squad sent from Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is also the key stakeholder in a coalition at war against Iran-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen, where the world's worst humanitarian crisis continues with millions of people facing starvation.
Amnesty International's Middle East Campaigns Director, Samah Hadid joins TRT World.
Saudi Arabia's embassy in Thailand has denied reports that Riyadh requested Qunun's extradition.
Thailand's immigration police chief met with officials of the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok, and said the officials told him they are satisfied with how the case has been handled.
A woman in Britain has launched an online petition calling on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to grant Qunan asylum and issue her an emergency travel document.
Within hours of launching the petition, it had secured thousands of signatures.
Mathias Peer has the latest from Bangkok.