The Kingdom of Morocco has decided to file a defamation complaint against the organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, which accuse one of its security services of having used the Pegasus software for espionage purposes.
Morocco, accused of having used Pegasus spy software, has decided to sue Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories for defamation before the Paris Criminal Court, its lawyer announced on July 22 in a statement sent to AFP. .
“The Kingdom of Morocco and its ambassador to France, Chakib Benmoussa, have mandated master Olivier Baratelli to issue, as of today, two direct citations in defamation” against the two associations at the origin, since July 18, of the revelations on customers of this software.
A first procedural hearing is scheduled for October 8 before the press law chamber, but the trial is not expected to take place for about two years.
“The Moroccan state immediately intends to seize the French justice because it wants all the light to be shed on the false allegations of these two organizations which put forward elements without any concrete and demonstrated proof”, accuses Master Baratelli.
“The Moroccan state considers facing a new list case and that the past has amply demonstrated that it was easy to draw false conclusions from such practices”, adds the lawyer, deploring a “trial of media intent, unfounded and visibly created from scratch to destabilize the deep diplomatic relationship between Morocco and France ”.
The Cherifian kingdom “intends not to leave unpunished the multiple lies and fake news propagated in recent days”. From July 19, the Moroccan government defended itself by denying having acquired “computer software to infiltrate communication devices”.
Moroccan public prosecutor’s office launches judicial investigation
Rabat then threatened on July 21 to “opt for a judicial process, in Morocco and internationally, against any party endorsing these fallacious allegations”. At the same time, the Moroccan public prosecutor’s office announced “the opening of a judicial investigation into these false allegations and accusations”.
Introduced in a smartphone, this software – designed by the Israeli company NSO – allows you to retrieve messages, photos, contacts, and to activate microphones from a distance.
The organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained a list of 50,000 phone numbers, selected by NSO clients since 2016 for potential monitoring, and shared it with a consortium of 17 media outlets who revealed its existence on Sunday.
The list of potential targets includes at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists or 65 business leaders, according to the analysis of the consortium – which has located many in Morocco, Saudi Arabia. or even in Mexico.
July 21, The world and Radio France, members of the consortium, revealed that a telephone line of the French president was among the “numbers selected by a security service of the Moroccan state (…) for potential piracy”.
Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, 14 members of the government including Jean-Yves Le Drian and Gérald Darmanin, as well as former ministers and political leaders are also on this list, according to these media.