Saudi Arabia expels the Ambassador of Canada and is counting on more

Saudi Arabia expels the Ambassador of Canada and is counting on more

Riyadh _ Agencies

Saudi Arabia has asked the Canadian ambassador to leave its territory within 24 hours to protest against "Canada´s overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom," according to a statement of the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

Riyadh also summoned its ambassador from Canada to consult, according to a statement issued Sunday evening.

In an official statement last week, the Canadian Foreign Affairs department criticized the arrest of Saudi women jurists, including Samar Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist who holds American citizenship.

Women activists are demanding an end to the men´s guardianship system.

Canada also called for the release of "All other peaceful human rights activists."

Saudi women activists have been arrested in recent months and some may face accusations of working for foreign forces.

The Foreign Ministry strongly protested the Canadian statement as a "clear and flagrant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom and contrary to the most basic international norms and all the charters governing relations between states."

She considered the Canadian ambassador "an undesirable person" and asked him to leave the country within the next 24 hours.

According to the Saudi Foreign Ministry statement, the arrest of persons who were spoken by Canada was "carried out by the competent authority, the Public Prosecutor´s Office, on charges of committing crimes requiring suspension in accordance with established procedures."

He noted that these measures "guaranteed them their rights, which are considered legally and in order, and provided them with all the guarantees during the investigation and trial stages."

The foreign affairs of Saudi Arabia denounced Canada´s claim for "immediate release" of those arrested. She said that the use of the term "very unfortunate", adding that it was "reprehensible and unacceptable in inter-State relations".

It also announced the "freezing of all new business and investment dealings between the Kingdom and Canada." "They retain their right to take further action," she said.