Morocco denies using spyware to monitor critics

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Moroccan authorities have categorically denied allegations by Amnesty International that the government used surveillance software to spy on the phone of a prominent journalist and human rights activist.

In a report published this week, Amnesty said forensic analysis it carried out on the cell phone of Omar Radi indicated that his communications were monitored from January 2019 using technology developed by Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group.

However, in a statement released late on Friday, Moroccan authorities said Amnesty’s allegations were “baseless”, adding that the report “serves agendas motivated by hostility against Morocco and competitors in the intelligence market.”

According to the statement, Amnesty’s local director, Mohamed Sektaoui, was summoned by authorities on Friday and asked to provide evidence “as soon as possible.”

Radi was questioned by police on Thursday on suspicions of receiving funds linked to foreign intelligence services. He dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous.”

The journalist was first arrested last year, after he defended anti-government protesters in his tweet.

He was subsequently put on trial in March this year, accused of insulting a judge with his tweet that slammed the prison sentences handed down to protest leaders.

He received a four-month suspended jail sentence and a $50 fine.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke

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