12:02 GMT +317 August 2018
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    Manama, Bahrain. (File)

    Bahrain Backs Saudis in Row With Canada Over Arrested Civil Rights Activists

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    On Monday Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Canada for consultations and gave the Canadian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia only 24 hours to leave the kingdom, stating that it wouldn’t accept foreign "interference."

    "The Kingdom of Bahrain affirms its full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against any external interference in its internal affairs or any side’s attempt to undermine the Saudi sovereignty. The Kingdom of Bahrain also confirms its absolute support for the measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response to the statements made by the Canadian minister of foreign affairs and the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, on what they called civil society activists," the ministry said in a statement.

    The conflict escalated earlier today when the Canadian envoy Dennis Horak was declared a persona non-grata and a trade deal with Ottawa was frozen. Addressing the move, Canada’s Foreign Ministry stated it was "seriously concerned"' by the reports, adding it needed "better clarity" on the situation.

    READ MORE: Women in Saudi Arabia Will Soon Be Able to Train as Pilots

    The actions of the Saudi authorities were a response to the criticism of the human rights situation in the country by Canada. Last week Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Ottawa was “alarmed” by Riyadh’s decision to imprison Samar Badawi, the sister of Saudi liberal opposition activist Raif Badawi and urged the Saudis to release both.

    In 2012 Raif Badawi was accused of insulting Islam and committing cybercrimes and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His wife and children fled to Canada immediately after the arrest and became Canadian citizens last July.

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    Tags:
    activist, arrest, Raif Badawi, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
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