Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, the two organizations behind the revelations about clients from the Pegasus spy program, are being sued for libel in Paris, Moroccan lawyer Olivier Baratelli said in a statement on Thursday.
“The Kingdom of Morocco and its Ambassador to France, Chakib Benmoussa, have instructed Mr Olivier Baratelli to issue two direct defamation citations from today” against these two organizations, according to a statement sent to AFP by Baratelli.
In this document, the lawyer emphasizes that “the Moroccan state intends to seize French justice immediately, as it wants all the light to be shed on the two false accusations of these two organizations that have presented elements without any concrete and proven evidence” . He condemns a “trial against the media’s intent, unfounded and visibly created from the ground up to destabilize the deep diplomatic relationship between Morocco and France”.
Judicial inquiry in Morocco
Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International received a list of 50,000 phone numbers chosen by customers of an Israeli company (NSO), which could potentially be spied on by spyware, Pegasus. The list was shared with a consortium of journalists on Sunday 18 July. The day after these revelations, Morocco, clearly identified as one of these customers, had categorically denied having acquired “computer software to infiltrate communication devices.”
A first trial is expected to take place on October 8, but the trial is not expected to take place in at least two years. If the citations are submitted in Paris, the Moroccan prosecutor’s office has nevertheless announced that a judicial investigation will be launched in Morocco, “on these false accusations and accusations”.
►Read also: Pegasus: in France, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office announces the launch of an investigation into espionage in favor of Morocco.