Morocco sues Amnesty International and other NGOs as tension rises with France over Pegasus hacking
Morocco has commanded Olivier Baratelli, a lawyer to file a defamation lawsuit in a French court against two NGOs: Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories. They both alleged Morocco put top French officials (including President Emmanuel Macron, and French ministers) on a list of potential targets for electronic surveillance, FranceInfo reports.
The two nongovernmental organizations and researchers allege that Pegasus spyware created by Israel's top cyber intelligence company NSO Group was utilized in hacking smartphones and iPhones belonging to human rights activists, journalists, and government officials in many countries.
Olivier Baratelli explained in a statement "The Moroccan state... wants all possible light cast on these false allegations from these two organizations, who make claims without any concrete or demonstrative evidence whatsoever".
The first hearing is set for October 8 in Paris, France.
The list of targeted phone numbers included:
1- Moroccan King Mohammed VI
2- Princess Lalla Salma Bennani, the King's wife
3- Prince Moulay Hicham Alaoui, the King's cousin
4- Sidi Mohammed Alaoui, the King's chamberlain
5- Mohamed Mounir El Majidi, the King's personal secretary, and other members of his family
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called an urgent national security meeting to discuss the reports about Pegasus' use in France.
The French government, who accused Morocco of hacking and infiltrating the French President's phone number and those of other French ministers, has provided NO EVIDENCE (zero, nada) whatsoever to back up its unfounded and baseless claims.
Morocco has denied the claims, saying that it never acquired spyware or any advanced cyber intelligence tools to infiltrate communication devices.
The lawyer representing Morocco in the French court explained that "Morocco does not intend to let the multiple lies and fake news spread these past few days go unpunished.
This situation clearly creates tension between the two countries but Morocco remains unbothered by the attacks as long as no evidence has been provided.