Saudi Arabia Severs Ties With Canada Over Human Rights Row

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The Kingdom has severed business ties with Canada over claims of interference in Saudi internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia has expelled the Canadian ambassador and recalled its envoy after severing business ties with Ottawa amid an ongoing row over Canada’s criticism of the arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in the kingdom.

On Friday, Canada called on Riyadh to “immediately release” civil and human rights activists who had been arrested by Saudi authorities.

Canada’s Foreign Office was responding to reports from Amnesty International that leading women’s rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi, had been detained by Saudi police last week.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia… will not accept interference in its internal affairs or imposed diktats from any country”

As the diplomatic row intensifies, the Saudis have also suspend educational exchanges with Canada

Press TV reports: The Canadian Embassy in Riyadh said it was “gravely concerned” over a spike of arrests of human rights campaigners in the Saudi kingdom including gender rights activist Samar Badawi.

“We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists,” tweeted the Canadian embassy.

“It is very unfortunate that the words ‘immediate release’ appeared in the Canadian statement… it is unacceptable in relations between countries,” tweeted the Saudi foreign ministry in response.

Riyadh also released a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency, in which it confirmed its commitment to not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and in return rejected any intervention by them.

“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,” said the statement.

Niamh Harris
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