Saudi teen given asylum in Canada says women 'treated like slaves' in Saudi Arabia

Last Updated: Jan 15 2019 19:42
Reading time: 1 min, 10 secs

A Saudi teenager who after fleeing her family was given asylum in Canada said that her journey was "worth the risk" so she could live a more independent life.

Rahaf Mohammed, 18, made headlines when she flew to Thailand and barricaded herself in a hotel while appealing on Twitter for help to avoid deportation.

She said she feared being killed if she was sent back to her family.

"It's something that is worth the risk I took," she told the Toronto Star and CBC News. "I had nothing to lose."

"We are treated as an object, like a slave," she said. "I wanted to tell people my story and about what happens to Saudi women."

Ms Mohammed - who has dropped her surname, al-Qunun - alleged that her family had subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.

"In the beginning, they locked me up for six months after I cut my hair... because it is forbidden in Islam for a woman to dress like a man," she told reporters at the office of an immigrant settlement agency in Toronto.

"But I was mostly exposed to violence by my mother and my brother," she added. "They were beating me and there was corporal violence."

"During this time, I was thinking about what kind of goodbye messages I would write because I was not going to allow them to take me. I was prepared to end my life before they kidnapped me," she told CBC.