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Saudi woman 'terrified' as family thwart escape bid: Reports

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, was on way to Australia to seek asylum when she was stopped in the Philippines by uncles
Security personnel stand on the stairs of Saudi Airlines plane at Manila airport last year (AFP)

A Saudi woman trying to flee to Australia was "terrified" by the sight of her uncles as they arrived at Manila airport in the Philippines to take her back home, according to witness reports.

Dinal Ali Lasloom was stopped at Manila on Tuesday while on her way to Australia, where she said she hoped to claim asylum.

But the trip was cut short when authorities confiscated Lasloom's passport and held her until family members arrived to return her to Saudi Arabia. She was reported on Friday to be back in Riyadh, although rights groups said they had no information on her whereabouts.

In a Facebook post Meagan Khan, a Canadian, claimed to have helped Lasloom record videos and send them to activists while she was held in the Philipinnes.

Lasloom said in self-recorded videos that the Philippine authorities had held her at the Manila airport and confiscated her passport. She worried that her uncles would return her to Saudi Arabia where she might be killed.

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

The videos circulated widely on social media over the past few days, while activists made calls for help via Twitter.

Uncles' arrival 

In her Facebook posts, Khan said that Lasloom "looked terrified" when two of her uncles arrived at Manila airport.

She told Khan to send out the recorded videos immediately while the pair tried calling lawyers and other people to help.

"She said we need to find a lawyer," said Khan. "I gave her my phone and she sent out Arabic voice messages to her friends. They all started sending numbers to call and we called everyone. No one answered.""

While Khan described one of Lasloom’s uncles as initially "friendly and nice", she said he started to yell at her and had "quickly become a villain" when Khan started taking photos and video of them sitting with her at the airport in Manila.

"Dina told the airport workers that she was in danger the entire time," said Khan. "They told me an important person called and told them to hold her [Lasloom's] documents and not allow her to leave."

According to reports on social media, the 24-year-old woman was eventually put on a flight back to Riyadh at the request of Saudi officials.

Khan said that when she eventually had to leave the waiting room to board her flight, Lasloom was not crying anymore.

"We sat and talked. She told me she wanted to be like me and I told her she would be better and that she must share her story one day. She said she would for sure."

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 of Lasloom, she reported over Twitter. 

Human Rights Watch said on Friday that Lasloom's whereabouts were "currently unknown".

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

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

According to Khan, Lasloom, who she described as a "small-framed woman with beautiful brown eyes and short dark hair", wanted her story to be known to the world.

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