Canada ‘Clear, Strong’ With Saudis on Importance of Human Rights, Says Prime Minister Trudeau

October 12, 2018 Updated: October 12, 2018

WASHINGTON—Justin Trudeau says Canada has been and continues to be clear and strong with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia about defending human rights.

The prime minister also says Canada has “serious issues” with the reports surrounding the disappearance of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi, although he says there is still more to learn before he’ll comment further.

Trudeau says Canada has been engaged in a significant diplomatic effort on human rights with Saudi Arabia for many years, including in his own conversation last spring with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The intrigue surrounding Khashoggi’s disappearance has only deepened since he was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish capital of Istanbul 10 days ago.

Media reports in the U.S. say Turkish officials have audio and video recordings that prove the Washington Post columnist was interrogated, tortured, and killed by a Saudi security team inside the consulate, where he was seeking official documents before his upcoming wedding.

The controversy comes after Canada’s own dispute with the Saudis, triggered when Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called for the immediate release of detained activists, including Samar Badawi, a champion of women’s rights and the sister of detained blogger Raif Badawi.

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