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