Saudi suspends flights to Canada ahead of Hajj

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Saudi Arabia says it will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its worldwide tenders, European traders said on Tuesday, as a diplomatic dispute between the two countries escalates.

But Canada has stood firm, with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland insisting it would defend human rights around the world.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia 24 hours to leave.

Saudi Arabia's move came followed a tweet Friday from Global Affairs Canada which expressed concerns about the arrests of civil and women's rights activists and asking the Saudi government to immediately release them.

The airline's announcement comes amid newly surfaced tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia triggered by Ottawa's criticism of detentions in the kingdom.

A pro-government Saudi Twitter account provoked outrage when it posted - then deleted - a 9/11-style digitally altered image showing an Air Canada plane flying towards Canada's tallest skyscraper the CN Tower.

Her brother Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

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Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running a blog that promoted free speech and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Last week, human-rights activist Samar Badawi and others were arrested by Saudi police.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights and freedom of expression around the world".

European traders said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's main wheat-buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin wheat and barley.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships. "They are the best interlocutor for Canada in the region", he said.

Infographic KSA, which is believed to be owned by a Saudi youth organization and backed by the Saudi government, has a history of posting infographics that support Saudi government positions and foreign policy.

In the fist comments by Washington since the dispute erupted, a U.S. State Department official said the United States had asked Riyadh for details on the detention of activists.

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