Quebec to continue to support Raif Badawi despite Saudi criticism

Quebec to continue to support Raif Badawi despite Saudi criticism

Ambassador to Canada is tells Quebec politicians his government won’t accept meddling

(Anthony Devlin/CP)

(Anthony Devlin/CP)

MONTREAL — Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Canada is telling Quebec politicians his government won’t accept meddling in its internal affairs in response to the case of a jailed blogger.

The ambassador sent a letter addressed to the Speaker of the national assembly regarding Raif Badawi, saying his government expresses “its strong surprise and dismay” at what is being said and written about the case.

Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and fined for criticizing Saudi Arabian clerics.

The first 50 lashes were carried out in early January, but he has not been flogged since.

The March 10 letter was also sent to the federal government and is critical of attacks by media and international agencies on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

“(The kingdom) does not accept any form of interference in its internal affairs and rejects the encroachment on its sovereign right or the compromising of its judiciary independence and integrity,” writes Naif Bin Bandir AlSudairy.

Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said Wednesday her government will continue to champion Badawi’s cause as well as challenge other human rights abuses around the world.

“We want Raif Badawi to be released from prison and to be able to come here and live with his wife and his children,” Weil said.

Badawi is not a Canadian citizen, although his wife and children fled Saudi Arabia in 2012 and settled in Sherbrooke, Que., in 2013.

International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre is expected to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson in the near future to discuss the next steps.

Weil declined to speculate on whether the Saudi reaction might be indicative of something else.

“I think it’s mostly important for us to reiterate our firm opposition to his imprisonment (and) our defence of human rights,” Weil said.

Badawi’s detention and sentence have stirred up worldwide condemnation and Quebec politicians unanimously adopted a motion in February calling for his immediate release.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also spoken out against Badawi’s treatment, but has said Ottawa’s influence is limited by the fact he is not a Canadian citizen.

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Quebec to continue to support Raif Badawi despite Saudi criticism

  1. Meddle away – Saudis will continue to cut off heads, hands and torture via other means – as per the islamic way.

    We called them friends when we needed their oil – in order to keep that oil.

    Now the environmental types support the Saudis and their economy by refusing to let Canada become energy self sufficient.

    Every time someone in Eastern Canada fills up they are supporting terror by buying mid east oil.

    So – time to cut off the cash flow to Saudi – then watch them change their tune.

    Until then they do not give a damn about what anyone thinks because money has brought them great wealth and even greater power – all because the consumer buys mid east oil.

    So do not blame the Saudis for their attitude and their laws and their treatment of people.

    Blame those who would keep the money flowing to the mid east oil countries – those who would refuse to allow Canada to become independent of mid east oil.