Riyadh, Aug 6: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador in Canada early morning today and gave him a 24-hour notice to leave the country as it considered the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia as persona non grata. Saudi’s foreign ministry took such a step after Canada’s foreign ministry urged Riyadh to release arrested civil rights activists. Also Read - Good News! More Girls Are Now Being Adopted by Foreign Couples, UP Govt Credits 'Mission Shakti' Programme
The Canadian Embassy had earlier tweeted and urged the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists. Also Read - Grenade Blast at Jeddah Cemetery in Saudi Arabia Injures Many, One Suspect Arrested
The Ministry in a statement said, “The Ministry also affirmed that the Canadian position is an explicit and transparent interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” It later tweeted too saying, “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia … will not accept interference in its internal affairs or imposed diktats from any country. he kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador … to Canada for consultation.” Also Read - Saudi Public Investment Fund to Invest Rs 9555 Crore in Reliance Retail Ventures
Following this, it also froze its all new business and investment transactions with Canada.
For the unversed, last week, women’s rights activists Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah, were arrested as per the Human Rights Watch in Saudi Arabia. Their arrest was the latest in a government crackdown on activists, clerics and journalists. Several dozen women’s rights activists have been targeted since May.
Just after the activists’ arrest, Canada said it was concerned about the arrests of civil society activists and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Badawi, the sister of jailed dissident blogger Raif Badawi. It must be noted that Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar lives in Canada itself and recently acquired the Canadian citizenship.
However, the Saudi government issued a statement later saying it remain committed from speaking in the internal matters of any country and therefore did not want any intervention in its local affairs and internal relations with its citizens. It issued a statement saying, “Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs.”
The civil rights activists’ who have been targeted are campaigning for the women’s right to drive and an end to the country’s male guardianship system- which requires women to obtain the consent of a male relative for major decisions.