Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador

Samar Badawi

Samar Badawi

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

Saudi Arabia said it considers the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia as persona non grata and gave him a 24-hour notice to leave the kingdom.

The Saudi ambassador to Canada has been recalled to the peninsula for "consultation".

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia. will not accept interference in its internal affairs or imposed diktats from any country", the foreign ministry tweeted.

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists", the foreign ministry tweeted on Friday.

Last week, the Canadian government publicly took the Saudis to task after the kingdom arrested two women's-rights activists, the latest to be swept up in a government crackdown on activists, clerics and journalists.

Just two months ago, Saudi women were given the right to drive a vehicle, yet several of the country's most prominent women's rights activists - including some who fought for years to drive - were arrested earlier this year on national security grounds.

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The meeting reportedly yielded three solution options and if nothing works, Queen Elizabeth might get involved too. But now sources claim that the royals have had enough and senior royal aides are trying to come up with a plan.

"The rupture in Saudi diplomatic relations with Canada reinforces how the "new" Saudi Arabia that Mohammed bin Salman is putting together is in no mood to tolerate any form of criticism of its handling of domestic affairs", said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute in the United States.

Saudi Arabia said it was also freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada and "reserves its right to take further action".

Ms. Freeland said via Twitter last Thursday that she was "very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia".

"The kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty", according to the statement.

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. She is a Canadian citizen whose brother Raif Badawi, a blogger who was critical of the Saudi government, was already in jail in the kingdom.

The move follows vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of activists that have been detained.

In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his "serious concern" over the continued jailing of Badawi to Saudi King Salman.

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