Saudi education ministry: Plan already in action to transfer students from Canada

In the wake of Canada calling for the release of detained civil rights activists, Saudi Arabia's state airline has suspended all direct flights to and from Toronto.

The latest retaliatory move came after Canada's ministry of foreign affairs raised concerns about the arrest of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi (pictured main), sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

Since Monday social media has been saturated by the surprising news that Saudi Arabia made a decision to expel the Canadian ambassador, along with freezing trade and investment ties with Canada. Raif's wife Ensaf Haidar and their three children moved to Canada and became Canadian citizens earlier this year.

"I don't think it will worsen the situation because very often when we make evident unjust imprisonments, like the case of Samar Badawi, that increases their protection and increases pressure on the government", she said in an interview Monday.

"He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison, he received 50 lashes in 2015 and he could receive others, but he hasn't", she said.

"We are aware of Government of Saudi Arabia's statement recalling the Saudi ambassador to Canada and expelling Canada's ambassador", the spokesperson said.

More news: Woman fined $156 for wearing face veil in Denmark

Many Saudis went onto suggest that Canada should mind its own business in handling their local crisis, or help the indigenous women of Canada instead of interfering in Saudi Arabia.

Today is a really good day for the United States to reconsider its seemingly boundless support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. "And by hitting Canada - which is big enough to matter but small enough not to be a risk to Saudi - he sends a message elsewhere", Kliment said.

One well placed source said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - which stresses the importance of human rights - planned to reach out to the United Arab Emirates. In 2014, the Canadian unit of USA weapons maker General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) won a contract worth up to $13 billion to build light-armored vehicles for Saudi Arabia, in what Ottawa said was the largest advanced manufacturing export win in Canadian history.

"The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty", according to a statement by the Saudi foreign ministry.

Spokesperson Heather Nauert added during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday that the USA has raised similar issues with Saudi Arabia.

"It would be a shame for those students if they are deprived of the opportunity to study here", Freeland told reporters.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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