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Morocco Demands Evidence of Involvement in State Surveillance Using Pegasus Spyware

22 Jul 2021 01:21

Islam Times - Morocco has denied accusations of involvement in spying on foreign officials using controversial Pegasus spyware and demands that the authors of the investigation provide evidence of their claims, Moroccan government said in a statement.

In the official statement, the Moroccan authorities called the media campaign accusing the country's leadership of hacking phones of foreign officials and journalists "confusing and dubious".

"The Moroccan government completely denies the false accusations made against it without any basis, and challenges those who promote this campaign, in particular, the Amnesty International and the Forbidden stories coalition and those who support and defend them. Show at least some substantial evidence of your soap opera script", the statement reads.

The government further stressed that the country "has once again become victim to attacks from the media and NGOs, the purpose of which is to subjugate the kingdom to their will".

The statement noted that Morocco will use legal means on the international level to "oppose" anyone who uses "fake claims."

Earlier on Tuesday, Le Monde newspaper reported that the Moroccan intelligence services may have spied on the phones of French President Emmanuel Macron with the help of the Pegasus spyware in 2019. According to the news outlet, the phone numbers of the president, as well as then-Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 other ministers were picked for possible surveillance with the software.

An initial investigation, conducted by the consortium of prominent media outlets in cooperation with several NGOs, was published on Sunday. It found that Pegasus, developed by the “Israeli” entity's NSO Group, had been used by government-linked clients to hack at least 50,000 phone numbers in various countries, including in France. Majority belonged to prominent politicians, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and business executives.

Among those targeted, according to the report, were Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Iraqi President Barham Salih, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani. Former Belgian Prime Minister and current European Council President Charles Michel was also on the list.

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