Thailand’s immigration police chief says they will not deport a Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend, due to concerns for her safety.

Thai immigration officials had tried to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

She refused to board a flight to Kuwait City on Monday, and barricaded herself into her hotel room at Bangkok airport.

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The teenager said she believed her family would kill her if she went back because she had renounced Islam.

“My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait,” she told Reuters.

“My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things.”

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Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns for Ms Mohammed al-Qunun, who arrived at Bangkok’s international airport on a flight from Kuwait. She had travelled to Thailand for a connecting flight to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum.

She has said she will not leave her hotel room until she is allowed to meet the UN refugee agency.

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Melissa Fleming, head of communications at the refugee agency, tweeted at 18:25 (11:25 GMT) on Monday that “Our Bangkok protection team is meeting with @Rahaf84427714 now”.