Saudi Arabia has said it will suspend new trade and investment with Canada, giving the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalling its own ambassador to Canada.
A Foreign Ministry statement, which was carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, said it “has been made aware of the statement by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in the Kingdom, on the so-called civil society activists who have been detained, urging Saudi authorities to release them immediately,” it said.
“The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees’ rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial.”
The ministry said that “the Canadian position is an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi statement said it confirmed its commitment to refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada, and in return rejected any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens.
"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs," it added.
"The kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador to Canada for consultation. We consider the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom persona non grata and order him to leave within the next 24 hours."
The ministry also announced "the freezing of all new trade and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action".
Riyadh retained "its rights to take further action," it added.