Paris court rejects Rabat’s case over Pegasus spying

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Morocco’s relations with France have plummeted even further following a court case ruling on April 12th against Rabat.

A Paris court ruled that Rabat’s attempts to defend itself against allegations of spying using a program called ‘Pegasus’ are inadmissible.

Rabat had previously filed defamation cases against a number of French media titles and some NGOs who had reported on the spying allegations.

Yet the Paris Court of Appeal upheld, on April 12th the “inadmissible” ruling issued in defamation lawsuits filed by Morocco against non-governmental organisations and French media outlets that exposed or denounced Rabat’s use of the Pegasus spyware to spy on journalists and opponents.

In the first instance, the Paris Criminal Court issued ten rulings declaring inadmissibility of all cases filed by Rabat against Le MondeRadio FranceFrance Médias MondeMediapart, L’Humanité, Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.

On Wednesday 12th April, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld these ten rulings.

The rulings are based on the 1881 French law on freedom of the press, which “does not allow a state to initiate a defamation trial”, as it is not a “private body”.

In 2021, Amnesty International and non-profit French press freedom group, Forbidden Stories, listed Morocco among dozens of countries that used the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware to spy on opponents, journalists and diplomats, reports Middle East Monitor.

The investigation revealed that about 50,000 people around the world including women, politicians, journalists, human rights activists and others were spied on by some governments, including the Moroccan government.

Morocco has filed several lawsuits in France, Spain and Germany, citing “false and baseless allegations”.

Once installed in a mobile phone, the Pegasus spyware allows access to all messages or data on the device, as well as control it remotely to record sounds or capture images.


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