Saudi Arabia orders Canadian envoy to leave over criticism

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the ultraconservative kingdom after criticism of its arrests of activists.

A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement early Monday also announced that it would freeze "all new business" between the kingdom and Canada. Some 10 % of Canadian crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia.

Canadian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The dispute appears centered around a tweet by Global Affairs Canada calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" women's rights activists recently detained by the kingdom.

Among those recently arrested is Samar Badawi, whose brother Raif Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for criticizing clerics. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, is now living in Canada.

 

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