(Montreal) Canada, which has led a diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia since denouncing the arrest of Saudi human rights defenders in 2018, said on Wednesday it was “very relieved” by the release of activist Lausinne al-Hathloul.
The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by tweeting that “Canada welcomes the release of Loujine Hathouloul and Knopf Abdulaziz”. “We are all very relieved about this outcome and our thoughts are with their families and loved ones. #Women’s Rights”.
Saudi human rights activist Louzain al-Hathloul was released on Wednesday after serving nearly three years in prison. She was arrested in May 2018, along with other activists, shortly before the lifting of the driving ban on Saudi women, who are campaigning for the reform.
A few years ago, Luigen Al-Hathloul attended the University of British Columbia, where she was licensed in French in 2014.
The university’s president, Santa Ono, said he was “encouraged” by the announcement.
“We will continue to extend our support to her family and loved ones for her release and for equality in Saudi Arabia – goals that she defended before too much courage,” he said in a press release.
The unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Riyadh and Ottawa erupted in August 2018 as Canada tweeted to “immediately release” human rights activists arrested in Saudi Arabia a short while ago.
Angered, Riyadh responded by expelling the Canadian ambassador and retaliating, including suspending trade ties.
The Saudi foreign minister called on the Canadian government to correct its “mistake”, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to apologize and reiterated his commitment to the protection of human rights around the world.