Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Saudi expels Canadian envoy over "interference"

Saudi Arabia Samar Badawi received the 2012 International Women of Courage Award from Hillary Clinton in the US
Jay Anderson | 06 August, 2018, 08:24

Saudi Arabia has declared the ambassador of Canada persona non grata and ordered him to leave in 24 hours, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

"The Canadian position is an open and transparent interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and contrary to the most basic global norms and all the charters governing relations between countries".

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

Badawi and another high-profile Saudi women's rights activist, Nassima al-Sadah, were arrested in the kingdom last week, sparking an worldwide outcry.

The move came after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland urged Saudi authorities to release from prison human rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of Saudi activist and writer Raif Badawi, who is now serving out a prison sentence.

"It is quite unfortunate to see the phrase "immediate release" in the Canadian statement, which is a reprehensible and unacceptable use of language between sovereign states".




The severing of ties was made Canadian embassy in Riyadh said it was "gravely concerned" over a spike of arrests of human rights campaigners in the Saudi including gender rights activist Samar Badawi.

Samar Badawi is a prominent women's rights advocate, and her brother Raif has been in a Saudi jail since 2012 for his criticism of the regime and was lashed 50 times in 2015.

"The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed disbelief by this negative unfounded comment. the persons referred to were lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees' rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial".

In 2014, the Canadian unit of US weapons maker General Dynamics Corp won a contract worth up to $13 billion to build light-armored vehicles for Saudi Arabia, in what Ottawa said at the time was the largest advanced manufacturing export win in Canadian history. Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

Riyadh's expulsion of the Canadian ambassador was meant to send a strong message to other critical Western governments, observers say.

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