Europe

UN official reveals ‘death threat’ from Saudi official

UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard had investigated murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Muhammad Mussa   | 23.03.2021
UN official reveals ‘death threat’ from Saudi official

LONDON

A senior Saudi official allegedly issued “a death threat” against UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who investigated the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Guardian revealed on Tuesday.

Agnes Callamard revealed in an interview with the Guardian that a UN colleague alerted her in January 2020 that a senior Saudi official threatened in a meeting with other UN officials in Geneva to have her “taken care of” if she is not reined in by the UN.

When asked how the comment was perceived, Callamard said: “A death threat. That was how it was understood.”

The Geneva meeting took place between Saudi diplomats, UN officials as well as visiting officials from Riyadh. Callamard was told by her colleagues that the Saudi officials had criticized her investigation and accused her of receiving financial support from Qatar.

Callamard’s report, published in June 2019, concluded that there was “credible evidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials were liable for the killing, and called the murder an “international crime.”

During the meeting, the UN investigator said, one of the visiting senior Saudi officials allegedly said that he had received phone calls from certain individuals who were ready to “take care of her.”

When confronted over the comments, Saudi officials downplayed the threats and reassured the group that such comments should not be taken seriously. However, as his colleagues left the meeting, Callamard was told, the same individual who issued the threat stayed behind and repeated the same comment to the UN officials present.

“People that were present, and also subsequently, made it clear to the Saudi delegation that this was absolutely inappropriate and that there was an expectation that this should not go further,” she said.

“You know, those threats don’t work on me. Well, I don’t want to call for more threats. But I have to do what I have to do. It didn’t stop me from acting in a way which I think is the right thing to do.” she added.

On Oct. 2, 2018, Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and Washington Post journalist, was killed and dismembered by a group of Saudi operatives shortly after he entered the consulate in Istanbul to get a marriage certificate.

Last month, the US administration released its unclassified report into Khashoggi’s murder and found that the Saudi crown prince had approved the murder.

Riyadh continues to deny any involvement in the murder and argues that the men involved in the killing were rogue operatives.

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