Amid Feud With Canada Over Human Rights, Saudi Arabia Crucifies Man

Saudi Arabia seems to ignore its own human rights abuses, attacking Canada for calling on the country to release women's rights activists.

Saudi Arabia is immune to hypocrisy, it seems.

As the country crucified a man to death in the holy city of Mecca this week, it continued its very public fight against Canada over the country’s alleged human rights violations.

At first, Canada attacked Saudi Arabia for its treatment of jailed activists, prompting Saudi Arabia to hit back with its state-run media attacking Canada for arresting a holocaust denier and other "prisoners of conscience."

Saudis also criticized Canada for its suicide rate, saying that Canadians are killing themselves because of their way of living.

The fight became so contentious that Canada’s ambassador to the country was expelled, trade between the two nations was frozen, and Saudi nationals are no longer allowed to receive medical care in Canada.

The man murdered on a cross in Mecca was Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen, who stood accused of murder, theft, and attempted rape.

Crucifixions are rare in the country. However, death sentences remain commonly used as punishment.

In the past, charges of homosexuality and participating in anti-government protests resulted in crucifixions, bringing to question the country’s justice system.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s push against Canada, the North American country remains firm in its criticism of the kingdom.

Recently, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland called on Saudi Arabia to release women arrested for fighting for women’s rights, using Twitter to share Canada's concerns for families suffering because of the arrests, prompting the Saudi media to use an infographic with a 9/11-themed airliner flying toward Toronto’s skyline.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also responded, saying that Canada is trying to interfere “in the internal affairs of the Kingdom."

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs," the Ministry added, according to CNBC.

While Canada and Saudi Arabia continue to fight publicly, the United States and United Kingdom, both allies to Canada and Saudi Arabia, seem to try to avoid controversy by simply stating they remain close to both nations.

The U.K. recently said it “regularly” raises concerns regarding human rights abuses with Riyadh. And in a statement, the U.S. State Department said it would comment about Riyadh’s human rights record in an annual report while calling on Saudi Arabia to respect due process. Still, there is no word from either country on the ongoing public spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Clearly, both nations are either afraid of pressuring Saudi Arabia or simply not too concerned about the country’s human rights abuses. It's an obvious hypocritical stance considering how vocal both the U.S. and the U.K. usually are whenever discussing abuses committed by nations they seek to invade.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

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