Saudi Arabia is freezing all new trade and investment with Canada over its perceived “interference” in the absolute monarchies internal affairs.
In a series of tweets, the Saudi foreign ministry said it was expelling the Canadian ambassador and recalling its own envoy in Canada. The move comes after Canada said it was “gravely concerned” about the arrest of several human rights activists, including Saudi-American women’s rights campaigner Samar Badawi.
Last Tuesday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said at least 15 human rights defenders and women’s rights activists critical of the Saudi government had been arrested or detained arbitrarily since 15 May. The leading Saudi women’s rights campaigner Manal al-Sharif thanked Canada for “speaking up” and asked when other Western powers would do the same.