Saudi Arabia suspends scholarships for thousands of Saudi students in Canada

Saudi Arabia suspends scholarships for thousands of Saudi students in Canada
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Saudia Arabia has reportedly suspended all government-funded scholarships for Saudi students currently in Canada, just days after a member of the Canadian government called for Riyadh to release jailed civil rights activists.  

Time magazine, citing the Financial Times, reported that Saudi Arabian officials said Monday on state television that many of the 12,000 Saudi students and family members currently in Canada will be transferred to other countries. Those countries could include the U.S. 

The move comes as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada continue to escalate in light of statements Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland made on Twitter last week.

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Freeland called for Saudi authorities to release from prison human rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of Saudi activist and writer Raif Badawi. Badawi is currently serving out a prison sentence. 

Saudi Arabia responded on Sunday by announcing that Canada's ambassador had 24 hours to leave the country and that it was also freezing all new trade and investment deals with the country. 

"Canada and all other nations need to know that they can’t claim to be more concerned than the Kingdom over its own citizens," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state-run media

In addition, the Saudi foreign ministry warned that any further action from Canada would be seen as a license to meddle in Canadian affairs.

"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."