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Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya claims Canada arrested controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson amid escalating diplomatic row Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya claims Canada arrested controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson amid escalating diplomatic row

Saudi Arabia on Monday expelled Canada's ambassador and recalled its own envoy [Al-Arabiya]

Date of publication: 8 August, 2018

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A Saudi-owned news website has claimed Canadian authorities detained controversial psychologist and bestselling author Jordan Peterson, amid a sharp diplomatic row between Riyadh and Ottawa.

A Saudi-owned news website has claimed Canadian authorities detained controversial right-wing psychologist and bestselling author Jordan Peterson, amid a sharp diplomatic row between Riyadh and Ottawa.

Al-Arabiya published a video on Monday naming Peterson among a list of alleged Canadian "prisoners of conscience" - the popular right-wing psychology professor has never been arrested.

"Peterson... is a political prisoner because of his beliefs," the video says.

The video also names Ernst Zundel - a German Holocaust denier who was deported from Canada - as another alleged victim of Canadian human rights violations.

The video is part of a campaign by Saudi-funded media and Twitter bots highlighting Canada's human rights record.

The campaign has taken shots at Canadian authorities' treatment of First Nations people and voiced support for the Quebec independence movement.

Another video from Al-Arabiya claims prison facilities in the North American are rife with human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia on Monday expelled Canada's ambassador and recalled its own envoy while freezing all new trade and investments, after Ottawa denounced a new crackdown on women and human rights activists in the kingdom.

Riyadh also said it will relocate thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada to other countries, while state airline Saudia announced it was suspending flights to Toronto.

Experts said the move illustrates how the oil-rich kingdom is increasingly seeking to use its economic and diplomatic muscle to quell foreign criticism under its young de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Canada annoyed Riyadh last week when it called for the "immediate release" of rights campaigners, including award-winning women's rights activist Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Samar Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week, the latest victims of what Human Rights Watch called an "unprecedented government crackdown" on women activists.

It came after more than a dozen women's rights campaigners were detained and accused of undermining national security and collaborating with enemies of the state.

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