Raif Badawi: Saudi embassy calls on Canada to stop its interventions

The Saudi ambassador to Canada urges the Trudeau government to respect the decisions of the courts of the kingdom and to stop meddling with Raif Badawi.

On the sidelines of a rare press conference at the Saudi Embassy in Ottawa on Tuesday, Naif Bin Bandir Al-Sudairy argued that the fate of the blogger was in the hands of Saudi justice.

The Canadian government, he insisted, must thus respect the verdict in the case of Raif Badawi, imprisoned for more than five years in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia respects the decisions of Canadian courts and we believe that our Canadian friends should treat us the same way. That’s all.

 Naif Bin Bandir Al-Sudairy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Canada

When asked if it meant that Ottawa should stop raising the issue with the Saudi authorities, Ambassador Al-Sudairy replied in the affirmative.

“Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Is that clear? “He said after the press conference at the Saudi Embassy on Sussex Drive.

The ambassador had sent a similar message in March 2015, when a letter had been sent to the governments of Quebec and Canada to direct the elected officials to stop interfering in this matter.

Raif Badawi’s wife asks the government to respond

Refugee in Sherbrooke with their three children, the wife of the blogger, Ensaf Haidar, does not decline in the presence of the ambassador’s statement. Rather, she believes this is the appropriate time for the Canadian government to respond to demanding the release of Raif Badawi.

“I would like Mr. Trudeau to do something with the government, with King Salmane [Saudi Arabia] and Mohammed ben Salmane [Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia] really serious, really strong so that Raif Come to Canada, “she said.

On Twitter, Ensaf Haidar also issued a message to the Prime Minister asking him to take action at the G20 meeting in Hamburg.

Continuing Pressures, Ottawa

In a video broadcast shortly before the fifth anniversary of his imprisonment in early June, his children asked Prime Minister Trudeau to intervene personally in the matter.

“We continue to urge the government of Saudi Arabia to release Raif Badawi,” Justin Turdeau said on the sidelines of an announcement in Ottawa on June 13.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland also said Tuesday that the “concerns” of the Canadian government would continue to be raised, “both in Riyadh and in Ottawa”.

“We brought the case of Mr. Badawi to the highest level, and we have repeatedly asked for mercy,” wrote Adam Austen.

The Canadian government, both under Stephen Harper and under Justin Trudeau, however, noted the difficulty of interceding in favor of Raif Badawi, since he is not a Canadian citizen.

Ambassador Naif Bin Bandir Al-Sudairy did not mean Tuesday if he had discussed the matter with Minister Freeland.

“I do not remember that. Perhaps, perhaps, “he said.

A missed opportunity

Prime Minister Trudeau could have raised the issue directly with King Salman of Saudi Arabia at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany this week. However, the monarch canceled his presence because of the crisis with Qatar, according to a spokesman of the German government quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday.

The Saudi Leader of the Mission made the remarks after a joint press conference with his counterparts from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The diplomats had invited the press on the eve of an important meeting on Qatar, put under ban by Saudi Arabia and its allies who accuse the country of financing terrorism.

According to Amnesty International, this new Saudi rebuff proves that Canada – in particular its Prime Minister – must “intensify” its efforts to free the blogger.

“The pressure from behind the scenes, so as not to offend the Saudi authorities, has obviously not borne fruit,” said spokeswoman Anne Sainte-Marie.

The blogger was imprisoned on 17 June 2012 for having asked, on his blog, for greater tolerance towards non-Muslims and greater openness.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and $ 290,000 in fines. He received 50 of these lashes, but the sentence has since been suspended because of his state of health.


Bo has over six years experience as a teacher, advocate and speaker. He has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Human rights from Harvard University Graduate School.

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