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According to the Toronto Star, there are about 16,000 Saudi students studying in Canada.

A Saudi Twitter account shared a photo of a plane flying toward Toronto's skyline, evoking images of the September 11 terror attacks.

Earlier this week, Riyadh froze all trade and education ties with Canada and expelled the country's ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the wording of the tweet, calling it an attempt by Canada to interfere with the country's internal affairs.

The ministry said it ordered the owner of the account to shut it down while investigations are completed.

"We are always going to speak up for human rights, we are always going to speak up for women's rights and that is not going to change", Freeland said.

Saudi Arabia announced on Monday it would be suspending all government-funded scholarships for Saudi students in Canada and would transfer students to other countries, escalating a dispute that started when the Canadian government criticized the Saudi state over human rights.

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Samar 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 the women's rights movement".

Freeland late on Monday also tweeted an official statement saying that Canada would "continue to advocate for human rights and for the fearless women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world".

The former head of the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia, Dr Hadi Bin Al Yami, said that the Canadian government's actions violate diplomatic norms governing state relations.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and Saudi royals have always been accused of complicity in the attack.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, said it is hard to determine what the economic impact on Canada would be without specifics on which trade deals will be affected.

Canada has said it is "gravely concerned" about the arrests and has called for those detained to be released immediately.

When asked about the contract, Freeland said the government "looks forward" to hearing from Riyadh about the future of the deal.


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