Saudis expel Canadian envoy, vow to relocate students over tweets about rights activist

Former first lady Michelle Obama, left, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, with Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia as she receives the International Women of Courage Award in 2012.

(CNN)Amid escalating tensions that are damaging economic and diplomatic ties between the countries, Saudi Arabia said Monday that it would relocate about 7,000 Saudi scholarship recipients studying in Canada.

The move is in response to Canadian officials accusing Saudi Arabia of human rights violations and demanding the release of activists imprisoned in the kingdom, Saudi Education Ministry spokesman Mubarak al-Osaimi wrote on Twitter.
The Saudi government has said it considers the Canadian position an assault on its sovereignty.
"We will be able to accommodate this number of students in excellent countries such as the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand," Jasser bin Sulaiman Al Harbash, Saudi Arabia's deputy minister of education for scholarship, told state-run television.
    This is in addition to suspending training programs and fellowships in Canada, two Saudi Education Ministry officials said.
    Saudi Arabia has already f