Saudi Arabia's State Airline To Halt Flights To And From Canada

Saudi Arabia's State Airline To Halt Flights To And From Canada

Saudi Arabia's State Airline To Halt Flights To And From Canada

"Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi, " the tweet said.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world", a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, stressing that Canada was "seeking greater clarity" from the Saudi government.

Riyadh's singling out of Canada is aimed at strongly discouraging other critical Western governments from speaking out, observers say.

Samar's brother, blogger Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an worldwide outcry.

On Monday, Saudi's foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Canada for consultations and declared the Canadian ambassador persona non grata, giving him 24 hours to leave.

On Friday, the Canadian government sent out a tweet condemning the arrests of women's rights activists, including Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed dissident Raif Badawi.

"It's estimated to be about 100,000 (barrels per day), and that's down over the past two years", McTeague said of Saudi Arabia's oil exports to Canada.

Travel to the country will affected in light of an announcement from Saudia Airlines on Tuesday that it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.


Crown Prince Mohammed, as heir to the throne, is in line to become the first Saudi king from a new generation after a succession of six brothers dating to 1953.

Raif Badawi's wife has been granted asylum by Canada.

"Instead of pursuing human rights reform, the government of Saudi Arabia has chosen to lash out with punitive measures in the face of criticism", said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East Director of Campaigns. "They are the best interlocutor for Canada in the region", he said.

'There isn't a strong bilateral trade relationship and poking the Trudeau government likely resonates with Saudi's hawkish regional allies.

Counting several Saudi diplomatic figures among its more than 350,000 followers, the now-deleted account is run by volunteers and managed by Saudi youth with an interest in technology and social media, according to an affiliated website.

Thousands of jobs in Canada could be at risk if the arms agreement is scrapped.

In the fist comments by Washington since the dispute erupted, a U.S. State Department official said the United States had asked Riyadh for details on the detention of activists.

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