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Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun on her mobile phone as she sat barricaded in a hotel room in Thailand's worldwide airport in Bangkok on Monday.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told reporters on Wednesday - before the referral was confirmed - that Australia would consider any referrals from the United Nations but Ms al-Qunun would not receive any "special treatment".

Upon arriving to Bangkok, she was met by a Saudi diplomat who seized her passport which meant that she does not meet the Thai visa requirements.

She barricaded herself in a hotel room at Suvarnabhumi airport for two days, while sending out desperate pleas for help over social media.

Her father and brother arrived in Bangkok yesterday, but Ms Qunun "refused to see" them, according to Thai immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn, who has been caught up in the global firestorm since Qunun's arrival.

She was "in transit" for an onward flight to Australia but claims that Saudi officials were "waiting for her at arrival gate".

"The decision to meet with the family is ultimately Ms. Al Qunun's and the responsibility for her safety and physical protection lies with the Thai authorities", UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told NPR.

The U.N. refugee agency on Tuesday said it was investigating Qunun's case after she fled to Thailand saying she feared her family would kill her if she were sent back to Saudi Arabia.

On Monday evening local time, Thailand's chief of immigration police, Surachate Hakparn, said the country would "take care of her as best we can". "She is 18 years old, she has an Australian visa, and she has the right to travel where she wishes and no government should interfere in that".

Saudi Arabia's charge d'affaires in Bangkok, Abdalelah al-Sheaibi, was stone-faced as he discussed his government's displeasure with the limelight in a meeting with Thai officials.

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As for providing security in light of Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he said "that's the Thai government's job and I hope that's being looked into".

As public pressure heightened, an Australian minister appeared to go beyond Canberra's initial bureaucratic promise to consider her case if and when United Nations experts judge her fear of mistreatment justified.

Saudi's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that its embassy in Bangkok was in contact with the father "as it's the Embassy's role to inform him on her situation and the date of her return".

Qunun said on Twitter that she was "scared" because her father arrived in Thailand yesterday, but that her passport had been returned to her. Leaving Islam is illegal in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death.

By about 7.30pm on Monday, Mr Surachate told reporters Ms Qunun would be allowed to enter Thailand and apply for asylum in a third country.

However, there has so far been no evidence her life is in actual danger. Alanazi noted that a representative from the Saudi embassy had arrived to the airport to accompany the young woman back as she was considered a youth.

"The government has made representations to the Thai government and the Bangkok office of the UNHCR about its serious concerns on this matter and the need for Al-Qunun's claim to be assessed expeditiously", the official said. "The embassy considers this issue a family matter". Once, she said, her family locked her up in a room for half a year because she cut her hair in a style they disliked.

Another Saudi woman, Dina Ali Lasloom, was in April 2017 returned to Saudi Arabia from the Philippines - also against her will as she faced a forced marriage, according to a report by HRW.

Speaking to The Guardian, Qunun's friend Nourah Alharbi said the outpouring of support on social media had made a huge difference.


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