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Pegasus case: Spanish justice dismisses Morocco in a lawsuit against a journalist

2023-03-16T12:55:10.398Z


Spanish justice has dismissed Morocco in the lawsuit it had brought against a Spanish journalist who accused him of espionage using the software...


The Spanish courts have dismissed Morocco in the lawsuit it brought against a Spanish journalist who accused him of spying using the Israeli spyware Pegasus.

The judgment of the Madrid court of first instance, consulted on Thursday by AFP, considers that this journalist did not "

boast

" of having been the victim of an act of espionage on the part of the Moroccan authorities, as their complaint affirmed it.

This lawsuit, brought by the Moroccan authorities against Ignacio Cembrero, 68, was a new episode in the "

Pegasus affair

", the origin of which is the publication in July 2021 by a consortium of 17 international media of an investigation revealing that some 50,000 personalities around the world had been spied on by governments, including that of Morocco, using this spyware.

Designed by the Israeli company NSO Group, this software, which has been sold to many countries, allows access to messaging, data or even remote activation of the camera and microphone of a smartphone.

Among the 180 journalists on this list of possible Pegasus targets was a Spaniard, Mr. Cembrero, a journalist who has worked on the Maghreb for more than 20 years and is considered an expert on Morocco, a country with which he has clashed several times. from.

He writes for the news website

El Confidencial

.

Since 2021, he has affirmed on several occasions, notably in November before a committee of the European Parliament, that he was convinced that Morocco was responsible for the hacking of his telephone, while admitting that he had no formal proof.

"Boasting action"

As he also did in France - where he had sued media outlets for defamation that accused him of using Pegasus to spy on politicians, including President Emmanuel Macron, and journalists, but where his complaints were made public. inadmissible by the courts - Morocco then decided to take it to court.

The Moroccan authorities have always maintained that they never had the Pegasus software.

Before the Spanish justice, the kingdom's lawyers had chosen to resort to an old legal provision dating from the Middle Ages and fallen into disuse, accusing Mr. Cembrero of having been guilty of a "bragging

action

", that is to say that is to say to have boasted of something - in this case to have been spied on by Morocco - without having the proof.

In the statements reproached by Rabat to this Spanish journalist, "

it is said that it is very difficult to prove that it is Morocco which would have introduced the computer software Pegasus

" on his mobile phone, affirms the judgment of judge Sonia Lence Muñoz, dated March 10, who says he "

absolves

" the accused.

During the trial, which took place on January 13, Morocco asked the court to rule that it had nothing to do with a possible hacking of Mr. Cembrero's phone, in other words to declare his innocence.

The kingdom had waived its claim for damages, but asked that the journalist be ordered to pay the legal costs.

The judgment stipulates that it is on the contrary the plaintiff, that is to say Morocco, which will have to pay these costs, although its diplomatic status seems to exclude this possibility.

The kingdom has the option to appeal.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-16

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