Saudi Arabia freezes Canada trade ties, recalls envoy


Saudi Arabia is also halting all new investment and trade transactions with Canada, the Saudi Press Agency statement added.

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry tweeted that it considers the Canadian ambassador persona non grata and has ordered him to leave within 24 hours.

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists", tweeted the Canadian embassy.

"The [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] reserves its right to take further action", the country's foreign ministry said in a statement posted in a series of tweets.

The Saudi statement said it confirmed its commitment to refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada, and in return rejected any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens.

On Aug. 3, the Canadian government's main foreign policy Twitter account followed this up by saying that "Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi".

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Samar Badawi is a prominent women's rights advocate, and her brother Raif has been in a Saudi jail since 2012 for his criticism of the regime and was lashed 50 times in 2015.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its absolute and categorical rejection of the position of the Canadian Government.

The latest arrests come weeks after more than a dozen women's right campaigners were detained and accused of undermining national security and collaborating with enemies of the state.

Last week, authorities in Saudi Arabia detained two women's rights activists, broadening a campaign of arrests that has drawn global criticism and tainted the kingdom's top-down agenda of change.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children now aged 14, 13 and 10 as a single mother.

"Canada is easier to cut ties with than the rest", Bessma Momani, a professor at Canada's University of Waterloo, told AFP.