UN investigator claims Saudi official threatened her life over Khashoggi report

People were prepared to “take care of her,” a senior Saudi official allegedly said.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Agnes Callamard, the UN’s special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, said that a senior Saudi official twice threatened her life in January 2020, following her investigation into the death of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

“A death threat. That was how it was understood,” said Callamard regarding the official’s statement.

Callamard told the Guardian that the threats were made at a high-level meeting in Geneva between UN officials, Geneva-based Saudi diplomats, and visiting Saudi officials in January of last year.

Callamard was not present at the meeting, but she said the incident was reported to her at the time.

She said the Saudis accused her of receiving money from Qatar and expressed anger over her report which implicated the Saudi crown prince and other officials in Khashoggi’s murder.

Then one of the visiting senior Saudi officials is alleged to have said that he had received phone calls from individuals who were prepared to “take care of her.”

The UN officials were alarmed by the comment, but members of the Saudi delegation assured them that it ought not to be taken seriously.

When the other Saudis left the room, the visiting senior Saudi official is said to have stayed behind and repeated the threat, telling the UN officials that he knew people who had offered to “take care of the issue if you don’t.”

Callamard said the UN officials gave a “very strong” response to the statements.

“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.

Callamard said the report of threats against her life did not affect her work. “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 said.

Callamard’s June 2019 report concluded that there was “credible evidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the October 2018 killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.