Saudi expels Canadian envoy over ‘interference’

Ottawa had called for release of activists
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it was expelling the Canadian Ambassador and recalling its own envoy while freezing all new trade, in retaliation for Ottawa’s vigorous calls for the release of jailed activists.
The kingdom gave the envoy Dennis Horak 24 hours to leave the country over what it slammed as “interference” in its internal affairs. Ottawa said it was “seriously concerned” and was seeking “greater clarity” on the shock move.
“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marie-Pier Baril. Canada last week said it was “gravely concerned” over a new wave of arrests of women and human rights campaigners in the kingdom, including gender rights activist Samar Badawi. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists,” its Foreign Ministry tweeted on Friday. Ms. Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week.
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