Saudi Arabia freezes new trade with Canada, expels envoy over 'interference'

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Riyadh is also freezing all new trade and investment deals with Canada.

The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador from Canada and given the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country.

"The kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador.to Canada for consultation", it added.

Freeland said in a tweet August 2 that she was "very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia", and that "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 Saudi foreign ministry cited remarks last week by Freeland and the Canadian embassy in Riyadh, criticizing Saudi Arabia's arrests of women's rights activists including Samar Badawi.

Saudi Arabia halted new trade and investment dealings with Canada and suspended diplomatic ties in a dramatic escalation of a dispute over the kingdom's arrest of a women's rights activist.

"It's pathetic that rather than respect the basic rights of its citizens and end its wide scale persecution of independent voices, it's punishing even friendly states who give it helpful advice", Whitson told DW.

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Amnesty International has said Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

Saudi Arabia has frozen all trade/investment developments with Canada.

Saudi Arabia took this firm stance following Canada's statement about "civil society activists" that was negative and baseless.

The UN has also voiced concern over the widening clampdown on opposition in Saudi Arabia, its human rights office (OHCHR) calling the spate of arrests that has been ongoing since spring "apparently arbitrary detentions".

Samar is a vocal campaigner for blogger Raif Badawi, her brother who was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an global outcry. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and categorical rejection of the position of the Canadian government", it 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 said. "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".

"We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", said Marie-Pier Baril.

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