April 11, 2021

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Saudi official denies risk to hurt UN Khashoggi investigator

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A senior Saudi official denied on Thursday he had threatened to hurt the human rights skilled who led the U.N. investigation into the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after the United Nations confirmed the skilled’s account of the risk.

Agnes Callamard, the U.N. skilled on abstract killings, has stated {that a} Saudi official threatened at a Jan. 2020 assembly in Geneva that she could be “taken care of” if she was not reined in following her investigation into the journalist’s homicide.

She stated the comment was interpreted by U.N. officers as a “loss of life risk”. The United Nations confirmed her account on Wednesday, describing the comment as a “risk”.

Neither Callamard nor the United Nations has recognized the Saudi official who made the comment. Nevertheless, the pinnacle of Saudi Arabia’s human rights fee, Awwad Alawwad, recognized himself because the official on Thursday, whereas denying he had supposed any risk.

“It has come to my consideration that Ms. Agnes Callamard … and a few U.N. officers imagine I someway made a veiled risk towards her greater than a 12 months in the past,” Alawwad tweeted.

“Whereas I can’t recall the precise conversations, I by no means would have desired or threatened any hurt upon a U.N.-appointed particular person, or anybody for that matter,” he stated.

He described himself as an advocate for human rights, and stated: “I’m disheartened that something I’ve stated could possibly be interpreted as a risk.”

A supply conversant in the matter had earlier informed Reuters Alawwad was the one who made the comment.

“THREAT”

Callamard led a U.N. investigation into the October 2018 killing of U.S.-based journalist Khashoggi by Saudi brokers on the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. She issued a report in 2019 concluding there was “credible proof” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and senior Saudi officers have been accountable.

Callamard’s allegation that she was threatened was first reported within the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday. On Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville stated: “We verify that the main points within the Guardian story concerning the risk aimed toward Agnes Callamard are correct.”

The comment was made at a gathering between Saudi and U.N. officers in Geneva. Callamard was not current on the assembly however the U.N. human rights workplace knowledgeable her concerning the risk and alerted U.N. safety and authorities, Colville added.

“A loss of life risk. That was the way it was understood,” Callamard informed the Guardian. “Folks that have been current, and in addition subsequently, made it clear to the Saudi delegation that this was completely inappropriate.”

She has referred to as for sanctions towards Prince Mohammed over the killing of Khashoggi. The prince denies any involvement however has stated he bears final accountability because it occurred beneath his watch.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, which has taken a more durable stance on Saudi Arabia’s human rights document than that of his predecessor Donald Trump, final month launched an intelligence report that stated Prince Mohammed accepted an operation to seize or kill Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia rejected the findings.

Callamard, whose substitute was introduced on Wednesday, is taking over a brand new put up as secretary common of Amnesty Worldwide.

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