Saudi woman who was granted asylum in Canada celebrates "first birthday being free"

Rahaf Mohammad caught attention in January after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok, and tweeted for help in escaping the Kingdom


                            Saudi woman who was granted asylum in Canada celebrates "first birthday being free"

The Saudi teenager, who was granted asylum in Canada after she fled the kingdom in an effort to escape her abusive parents, took to social media on Tuesday to celebrate her "first birthday being free."

Rahaf Mohammad, who renounced her last name al-Qunun, caught global attention in January after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand and asked for help on social media. Rahaf, in a series of tweets, pleaded for help saying Bangkok authorities were planning to send her back to Saudi Arabia.

Asylum Seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, smiles as she is introduced to the media at Toronto Pearson International Airport, alongside Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)
Asylum Seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, smiles as she is introduced to the media at Toronto Pearson International Airport, alongside Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)

 

"My family is strict and locked me in a room for six months just for cutting my hair," the teenager wrote on Twitter. "I’m sure 100 percent they will kill me as soon as I get out of Saudi jail.”

She'd also posted videos from the airport. Rahaf's family denied the charges and has reportedly disowned her. Days after her traumatic experience at the Bangkok airport, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) assisted the teenager in getting to Toronto, where she is settling into her new life.

To celebrate this new life and her birthday, Rahaf took to Twitter to post how happy she is with her life in Canada. She announced her 19th birthday, calling it her "first birthday being free."

She summed up with: "She was born again in this life." 

Her celebration and happiness was echoed on Twitter, where many took to the microblogging site to write messages of support for her.



 

"Happy Birthday and more to importantly you independence. Wishing you love & light from #Australia," Daniell T wrote.

"Happy birthday Rahaf! Enjoy the freedom. Let's hope more get out of there," Twitter user Cameron Riddle said.

Reports state that Rahaf has been enjoying the freedom she had not been able to when she was living in the conservative kingdom. The 18-year-old, on Tuesday, shared a picture of her having a Starbucks morning coffee, wearing a knee-length grey wool dress.

The UNHRC is reportedly helping the teenager embrace her new life in Canada and has also reportedly hired a security guard for her amid threats to her safety.

Asylum Seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, smiles as she is introduced to the media at Toronto Pearson International Airport, alongside Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)
Asylum Seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, smiles as she is introduced to the media at Toronto Pearson International Airport, alongside Canadian minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, on January 12, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)

 

Rahaf has said her first priority is to learn English and work in support of freedom for women across the world. "Today and for years to come, I will work in support of freedom for women around the world," Rahaf said. "The same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada."