AFP
Last updated: 2 November, 2016

Canada’s top diplomat to press Saudis on jailed blogger

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion will press Saudi Arabia's chief human rights official on jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, his office said Wednesday.

The foreign ministry said Dion would speak on Thursday with visiting Saudi Human Rights Commission president Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, about “a full range of human rights issues, including the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.”

“It is through engagement and frank dialogue that universal human rights may progress in the world, including in Saudi Arabia,” Dion said in a statement.

Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar has lived in Canada as a refugee with their three children since her husband’s arrest in 2012 and conviction for insulting Islam.

He is serving 10 years in jail and has received 50 lashes of a 1,000-lash sentence that caused international outrage.

Dion and Al-Aiban are scheduled to also participate in a round table on human rights.

On Wednesday, Al-Aiban was to sit down with Canada’s International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu and talk about “the importance of women and girls as powerful agents for change.”