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Saudi Arabia suspends flights to Canada in ongoing row over human-rights arrests

Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia has suspended flights to and fro Toronto as a diplomatic row between the Middle Eastern kingdom and Canada continued.

The row erupted after Canada came out in support of human and women’s rights and called on Saudi Arabia to release human rights activists arrested by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has called Canada’s actions a “blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs” and has responded with a series of diplomatic measures, including freezing new trade and investment with the country. Riyadh has also recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and has also expelled the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia.

In response, Canada has refused to back down. Responding to the Saudi move to freeze trade and expel the Canadian ambassador, Ottawa said, “Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights.”

The diplomatic row erupted after Canada tweeted about a recent arrest in Saudi Arabia. “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi,” the tweet read.

 

 

Samar Badawi is a famed women’s right activist and is the sister of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years for insulting Islam by a Saudi Arabian court in 2014. Saudi Arabia long has been sensitive to international pressure over the Raif Badawi sentence.

 

 

 

News credit : Indiatoday

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