Rawan and Reem fled their family trying to reach Australia six months ago – now their only hope is an emergency visa from a third country

Rawan and Reem are watching the clock. At the end of the day on Thursday the sisters, who escaped from Saudi Arabia almost six months ago, could be deported home where they face prison, beatings, and possibly death.

The women, who are using aliases out of fear of retribution by members of their family, have been in legal limbo since landing in Hong Kong in September after an aborted attempt to reach Australia where they hoped to get asylum. Their “tolerated overstay” in the city as visitors ends on Thursday, according to their lawyer. They risk arrest, prosecution and possibly removal.

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