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Saudi Arabia Freezes New Trade, Investment Transactions With Canada - Reports

CC BY-SA 4.0 / B.alotaby / Riyadh SkylineRiyadh Skyline showing the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the famous Kingdom Tower
Riyadh Skyline showing the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the famous Kingdom Tower - Sputnik International
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sunday that it was recalling its envoy to Canada, and will now consider the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh a ‘persona non grata,’ Reuters reported.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has given the Canadian envoy 24 hours to leave Riyadh. The kingdom has also reserved the right to take further action in its relations with Ottawa, according to the agency, although what actions it may take are unknown.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia… will not accept interference in its internal affairs," the Saudi Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by AFP after the Canadian embassy in Riyadh called for the release of jailed human rights activists.

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Riyadh will also suspend new trade and investment with Canada after Ottowa urged Riyadh to release detained civil rights activists, the Saudi Press Agency said Sunday.

The decision follows criticism by Canada of human rights in Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Ottawa is “alarmed” by Riyadh’s decision to imprison Samar Badawi, the sister of Saudi opposition activist Raif Badawi. The Canadian official urged Saudi Arabia to release both.

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In 2012, Badawi, creator of the Free Saudi Liberals website, was accused of insulting Islam, as well as cybercrimes and critical statements aimed at clerics and representatives of the kingdom's religious police. The activist was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Saudi Arabia.

Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, fled Saudi Arabia for Canada following the arrest of her husband and received Canadian citizenship on July 1.

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