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New Saudi runaway follows Rafah al-Qanun and seeks help from Twitter Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

New Saudi runaway follows Rafah al-Qanun and seeks help from Twitter

The kingdom has long been criticised for imposing tough restrictions on women [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 January, 2019

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Just days after a Saudi teenager was granted asylum in Canada, another woman has reached out to social media for help to escape her allegedly abusive family.

Just days after a Saudi teenager was granted asylum in Canada, another woman has reached out to social media for help to escape her allegedly abusive family.

Njoud al-Mandeel began live-tweeting her ordeal on Monday, quickly grabbing the attention of users and regional media, echoing the recent case of Rahaf al-Qunun.

"I am suffering from verbal and physical abuse at the hands of my father. Today he threatened me and he was going to set me on fire for a very stupid reason," Mandeel said in a video.

"I never wanted to make this video but all I want is your help and support," she said.

She added that she had fled her home and was taken in by one of her friends.

Mandeel later posted images of chat logs with a government agency promising to offer her protection.

Local media then reported that the public prosecutor was investigating Mandeel's claims and that it would take urgent action in the case.

The incident comes after Saudi teenager Rahaf al-Qunun caused a sensation by defying her family and seeking asylum abroad, alleging abuse at the hands of her family.

Qunun said in an interview from Canada - where she has been accepted as a refugee - that she expected her experience would inspire other women to flee abuse in the kingdom.

Qunun's use of Twitter saw her amass tens of thousands of followers within a week, highlighting, her plight at a time when Saudi Arabia's human rights record is under heavy scrutiny following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

The ultra-conservative kingdom has long been criticised for imposing some of the world's toughest restrictions on women.

That includes a guardianship system that allows men to exercise arbitrary authority to make decisions on behalf of their female relatives.

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