The Paris prosecutor’s office on Tuesday launched an investigation into the espionage of French journalists whose infiltration of phones by the Pegasus software on behalf of the Moroccan state, which denies it, was revealed on Sunday by a media consortium, he announced in a press release.
The investigation was initiated following a complaint from the investigative media Mediapart. It lists ten crimes, including “breach of privacy”, “eavesdropping on correspondence”, “fraudulent access” to a computer system and “criminal association”, says Agence France Presse.
The satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné announced that it would join Mediapart’s complaint, of which two journalists were spied on by Moroccan intelligence services: media founder Ewdy Plenel and journalist Lénaïg Bredoux. “The mobile phone numbers of Lénaïg Bredoux and Edwy Plenel are among the tens of thousands that Morocco’s secret services have targeted with spyware from the Israeli company NSO,” reads an article, “Project Pegasus”: Mediapart was spied on by Morocco. when (February 2019) and why the two journalists were spied on.
Le Canard Enchaîné, he would have been targeted in particular by his former partner Dominique Simmonnot, now general controllers of places of detention, who also announced that she would personally take legal action.
The Moroccan security service reportedly uses Pegasus systematically against journalists and critics of power. One of the emblematic target journalists for these methods is Omar Radi who has just been sentenced to six years in prison.
►► Also read:Morocco is accused of using Pegasus’ spyware, especially against journalists
The investigation also targets other computer system violations, such as fraudulent entry, extraction and data transfer, which could potentially be blamed on Pegasus users. “Central Office for the Fight against Crime Related to Information and Communication Technologies (OCLCTIC),” said the prosecutor. .
According to the survey, published on Sunday by a consortium of 17 international media outletsThe Pegasus software, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, would have made it possible to spy on 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists or even 65 business leaders from different countries. a smartphone, lets you retrieve messages, photos, contacts and even listen to calls from its owners.
► Also read : “Morocco and Pegasus, move, there is nothing to see!” on the front page of Africa’s press release
The work carried out by the 17 media, including the French newspapers Le Monde, the British The Guardian and the American The Washington Post, is based on a list obtained by the French-based network Forbidden Stories and NGO Amnesty International. According to them, 50,000 telephone numbers have been dialed by NSO customers since 2016 for potential monitoring.
► Also for listening:“This software is used to monitor the general population,” said Edouard Perrin, investigative journalist and president of the Freedom Voices Network, a guest at RFI.