Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador and suspending new trade with Canada

06 August, 2018, 08:25 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will suspend new trade and investment with Ottawa after Canada's foreign ministry urged Riyadh to release arrested civil rights activists, it said in a statement released to the official Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia announced Monday it was expelling the Canadian ambassador and had recalled its envoy while freezing business ties with Ottawa, over what it called "interference" in its internal affairs.

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists", the Canadian embassy tweeted on Friday.

The Saudi foreign ministry calls the use of "immediately release" in Canada's tweet "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

The move followed vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of human rights activists swept up in a new wave of detentions, AFP said.

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian Domestic affairs", the statement reads.

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Jackie Hansen, a gender rights campaigner for Amnesty International Canada, said last Thursday that the circumstances of the arrests were still unclear and there's no news of any charges.

Al-Saadah was among the first women to run for office in Saudi Arabia in 2015 as part of a campaign for women's political rights.

Last week, authorities in Saudi Arabia detained two women's rights activists, broadening a campaign of arrests that has drawn global criticism and tainted the kingdom's top-down agenda of change. "Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".

The ministry said it has told the Canadian foreign minister and embassy in Riyadh of its objection to their interference in the case of "civil society activists" who were arrested in the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and categorical rejection of the position of the Canadian Government.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children now aged 14, 13 and 10 as a single mother.

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