Saudi Arabia responded by reducing the level of diplomatic relations and stopping cooperation with Ottawa in several fields, most notably trade, education and medicine. The kingdom said today that it's transferring all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to medical facilities outside the country.
Following a tweet by Canada's foreign ministry calling for the immediate release of detained human rights activists, Saudi Arabia instigated a full-blown diplomatic crisis.
"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", the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.
In addition, Canada's ambassador to the country was expelled earlier this week, while the Saudis recalled their own ambassador from Ottawa.
Samar Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week, the latest victims of what Human Rights Watch called an "unprecedented government crackdown on the women's rights movement". In fact, the United States honored her work by awarding her the International Women of Courage Award in 2012.
The Canadian dollar slid Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia had begun selling off its holdings of the country's bonds, stocks, and cash.
Russian Federation has said that Saudi Arabia has the right to reject Canada's interference and to express its annoyance at the "commanding tone" coming from a perceived position of moral superiority.
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