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Canada adds fuel to dispute with Riyadh

Canada adds fuel to diplomatic tensions with Saudi Arabia, renewing its criticism of the kingdom’s human rights violations amid reports of a plan by Riyadh to behead an imprisoned female activist.


In a statement, the office of the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland voiced concern about the situation of jailed human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham who, along with five other activists, faces the death penalty.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women’s rights and freedom of expression around the world,” said the spokesperson.

The Ottawa-Riyadh tensions initially broke out earlier this month after the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh tweeted that it was “gravely concerned” over a spike in the arrests of human rights campaigners in the kingdom and called on “Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.”

Angered by the tweet, Riyadh expelled Canada’s ambassador and ordered home many students studying in the North American state.

The kingdom has also suspended all flights to and from Canada, halted their trade with the country, and ordered its patients receiving treatment there to go elsewhere by the next month.

Canada has, however, refused to back down.

22:17 23.08.2018