The UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, received two death threats from a senior Saudi official after the release of her UN report into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
She revealed this in a recent interview with The Guardian. She said that a UN colleague alerted her in January 2020 that a senior Saudi official had threatened twice ‘to have her taken care of’ if she was not reined in by the UN.
The threats were made in a ‘high level’ meeting between Geneva-based diplomats, visiting Saudi officials and UN officials in Geneva. The official is alleged to have said that he had received phone calls from individuals who were prepared to ‘take care of her’.
Callamard said that the comment was understood as ‘a death threat’.
The threats were made after her investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
When UN officials expressed alarm other Saudi officials who were present said the statement should not be taken seriously.
The human rights lawyer Sarah Kay said to Al Jazeera that the statements, while infuriating is ‘not surprising’.
Kay said: ‘Human rights defenders, regardless of the institutional framework they support or represent, are routinely targeted simply for the nature of their work. Agnes Callamard has worked tirelessly and fearlessly, to bring truth and justice after the murder of another human rights defender, Jamal Khashoggi.’
‘The issuing of death threats against a UN expert and to a UN colleague, no less, shows that the culture of impunity continues unabated. This intimidation of human rights experts must be fought at every corner.’
Callamard will soon be taking on her new position as Secretary-General of Amnesty International.
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