(CNN)Dawn was breaking in Sydney when Nourah’s phone rang. “I need you to help me. I need you to speak to people on my behalf,” the 20-year-old Saudi asylum-seeker recalled the caller saying.
The woman — a Saudi teen who identified herself as Rahaf al-Qunun
— explained to Nourah that her passport had been confiscated at a Bangkok airport, and Thai authorities were threatening to deport her. Qunun’s story captured international attention last month with her impassioned Twitter plea for asylum.
While Qunun barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to prevent her deportation, Nourah — who declined to reveal her full name for security reasons — was pacing up and down a public park in Sydney, making calls to Western news outlets. She had never met Qunun, but Nourah had recently also fled Saudi Arabia. She didn’t need to know who Qunun was, she said, to understand the urgency of her situation. Within days, Qunun was granted asylum in Canada.