Agnès Callamard, an independent United Nations (UN) investigator, recently said that she had received what was perceived to be a death threat by a senior Saudi official while handling the murder case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with the Guardian, Callamard said a UN colleague alerted her that a senior Saudi official allegedly threatened twice in a meeting with other senior UN officials to have Callamard “taken care of” if she wasn’t reined in by the UN.

She added that the alleged threats were made at a “high-level” meeting between Geneva-based Saudi diplomats, visiting Saudi officials and UN officials in Geneva in January 2020. Callamard said that Saudi officials criticised her work on the Khashoggi murder. 

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The human rights expert was the first official to investigate and publish a 100-page report into the 2018 murder of Khashoggi, a US-based contributor to The Washington Post, who was allegedly killed on the instructions of the Saudi Arabian government for writing critically about it.

Callamard, a French nationalist, who is set to take on her new post as secretary-general of Amnesty International this month, concluded in her 2019 report that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and other senior Saudi officials were responsible for the murder of Khashoggi.

The Joe Biden administration in late February released a declassifying report on Jamal Khashoggi’s killing that said that given Prince Mohammed’s influence, it was “highly unlikely” that the murder could have taken place without his green light.

Saudi officials denounced the report, insisting that Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue operation” by a Saudi hit squad that did not involve the crown prince.