Saudi woman on way to Australia for asylum 'kidnapped' by family

#HumanRights

In desperate video message, Dina Ali Lasloom says her family will kill her if she goes back to Saudi Arabia

Security personnel stand on the stairs of Saudi Airline plane at Manila airport last year (AFP)
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Last update: 
Friday 14 April 2017 20:39 UTC
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A Saudi woman who reportedly fled her home to seek asylum in Australia was allegedly held in custody at Philippines' Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) until family members arrived to return her to the kingdom.

Dina Ali Lasloom was taken off her flight during transit in Manila and put on a flight back home at the request of Saudi officials, according to reports on social media. 

According to information shared by the asylum seeker's advocates, the 24-year-old woman arrived at NAIA on Tuesday with the intention of continuing on to Sydney to file an asylum claim, when she was intercepted by authorities.

Members of Lasloom's family who arrived in Manila reportedly tied her up with duct tape and wrapped her in a bedsheet to drag her onto a Riyadh-bound flight, activists reported on social media. 

In a video believed to have been posted from the airport on Tuesday, Lasloom claimed she was being “held as a criminal”, and that if she was sent back to Saudi Arabia, she would be killed.

Lasloom said that she had fled to seek asylum only to be "locked up for 13 hours in collaboration with the Saudi embassy", in reference to the Saudi embassy in Manila. 

"If my family comes they will kill me, if I go back to Saudi Arabia I will be dead," she said.

There has been no comment from Saudi officials on the matter. 

In a post on Twitter, Mohamed al-Maady from the government-led Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia, said the organisation will be coordinating with the Saudi ministry of social development to gather information on Dina's case. 

Translation: We will coordinate with the ministry of social development with regards to information on Dina's case. All measures related to such cases will be taken #SaveDinaAli

Supporters rally on social media

The video which was allegedly posted by Lasloom went viral on social media as activists called on human rights organisation and the wider public to stand in solidarity with the young woman using the hashtag #SaveDinaAli.

Another video shared via Twitter appeared to show Lasloom being held at Manila airport.

Social media users and activists called on human rights organisations to help the Saudi woman seek asylum in Australia rather than be sent back to her family.

I'm doing everything I can to #SaveDinaAli . I called @UNHCRPh many times. They said they're working on her case.

— Sam Alghamdi (@Mozartista) April 10, 2017

A group of journalists and activists reportedly waited in Riyadh airport for Lasloom after her flight details were shared over social media.

Some Twitter users reported that four Saudi police cars were seen outside the airport on Tuesday.

According to a Bloomberg reporter in Riyadh, Vivian Nereim, there was no sign Lasloom.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived Monday night in Saudi Arabia to discuss the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers in the kingdom.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.