A senior Saudi official denied on Thursday he had threatened to harm UN investigator Agnes Callamard, following her probe into murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Agnes Callamard, the UN expert on summary killings, had said that a Saudi official threatened at a January 2020 meeting in Geneva that she would be “taken care of” if she was not reined in following her investigation into the journalist’s murder.
She said the remark was interpreted by UN officials as a “death threat.” The United Nations confirmed her account on Wednesday, describing the remark as a “threat.”
Awwad Alawwad, the head of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, said on Thursday that Callamard and UN officials believed he had made the threat.
“I reject this suggestion in the strongest terms,” Alawwad, who is the kingdom’s former media minister, wrote on Twitter.
“While I cannot recall the exact conversations, I never would have desired or threatened any harm upon a UN-appointed individual, or anyone for that matter.
“I am disheartened that anything I have said could be interpreted as a threat.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic who wrote for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The gruesome murder by Saudi agents tarnished the reputation of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and plunged the kingdom into its biggest diplomatic crisis in years.
Callamard’s report, published in June 2019, concluded that there was “credible evidence” that top Saudi officials, including Prince Mohammed, were liable for the killing.