Saudi Arabia has given the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country after the Middle East nation accused Ottawa of interference in its domestic affairs.
In response to Canada’s call for the release of a women’s rights activist, Saudi Arabia also said it would suspend new business and investment ties. It also recalled its envoy to Canada.
On 2 August, Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland called for the “release” of Samar Badawi, the sister of Raif Badawi, a prominent rights campaigner who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Islam.
Samar Badawi and another activist Nassima al Sadah, who had campaigned for women’s right to drive, were arrested last month.
Human Rights Watch has called the arrests “an unrelenting crackdown on the women’s rights movement”.
More than a dozen women’s rights activists have been targeted since May.
Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.
Women in Saudi Arabia are celebrating the lifting of a ban allowing them to drive for the first time.
While Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, the country has arrested women’s rights activists
A number of prominent journalists, religious leaders and activists have been arrested despite reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open up society and the economy to international investors as it reduces its reliance on oil.
In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said: “Throughout its long history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never accepted interference in its domestic affairs.
“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”
I hope something changes about this soon, Ten years is a really long time.