Australia FM visits Thailand amid Saudi asylum seeker saga

Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne met her Thai counterpart Thursday. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Australia FM visits Thailand amid Saudi asylum seeker saga

BANGKOK: Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne met her Thai counterpart Thursday, as her country appeared poised to offer to asylum to a young Saudi woman who claims to have fled her family to Thailand because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.
Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun made a plea for asylum after landing at Bangkok airport, before later being placed “under the care” of the United Nations refugee agency, news agency AFP quoted a Thai official saying late Monday.
This was later confirmed by Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Thailand which also denied, in a tweet, that Riyadh had requested Al-Qunun’s extradition.
The 18-year-old said she had planned to seek asylum in Australia and feared she would be killed if repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.


Saudi Arabia says UN Khashoggi report contains ‘baseless allegations’ and ‘contradictions’

Updated 56 min 40 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia says UN Khashoggi report contains ‘baseless allegations’ and ‘contradictions’

  • Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the report contained 'nothing new.'
  • Saudi Arabia late indicted 11 people for the killing and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against five of them

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that a report by a UN expert on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi contains “baseless allegations” and “contradictions.”

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the report contained “nothing new.”

He said the judicial authorities in the Kingdom are the only ones competent to investigate the case and that a number of suspects have already been arrested.

The report “contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility,” he said on Twitter.

“We strongly reject any attempt to prejudice the Kingdom’s leadership or to remove the case from the course of justice in the Kingdom or influencing it in any way.”

The report released Wednesday by UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said the murder of Khashoggi was the responsibility of the state of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia late last year indicted 11 people for the killing and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against five of them.

Saudi prosecutors said Khashoggi was killed by a “rogue operation” in a botched attempt to repatriate him. 

Al-Jubeir said the trials are being attended by representatives from the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in addition to Turkey and Saudi human rights organizations.