The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the League for Human Rights (LDH) filed a complaint on Tuesday, April 5, with the Paris prosecutor’s office, against the Israeli cyber espionage company NSO on behalf of the lawyer Franco-Palestinian Salah Hamouri, currently detained in Israel.
In November 2021, the Irish association Front Line Defenders revealed that Mr Hamouri’s phone was infected with Pegasus spyware, produced by NSO. According to the results of the analysis, confirmed by the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto and Amnesty International, he would have been under surveillance since at least April 2021. This surveillance would have started in the Palestinian territory but would have been active during a visit of Mr. Hamouri in France, which makes it possible to bring a complaint before a French court for “violation of the right to respect for private life”.
The Pegasus Software can provide full remote access to a Targeted Device. In July 2021, an international consortium of seventeen media, including The world, had revealed that the software was used by several countries to spy on journalists, activists and political actors.
NSO continues to claim that its primary mission is to help governments combat terrorism and organized crime. But this complaint is in addition to dozens of others filed with the French courts following the revelations about NSO. The company is also targeted in other procedures, including two initiated by the digital giants Meta and Apple.
Detained in a military prison
FIDH pursues another goal, explains Clémence Bectarte, lawyer at the Paris bar and coordinator of the association’s legal action group, “Judicial establishment that Salah Hamouri was indeed monitored by the Israeli authorities” : “What we expect is for the judiciary to determine the extent of this surveillance, and how it relates to his current situation. »
This 36-year-old native of Jerusalem, whose mother is French, has been struggling with the various branches of the Israeli state for twenty years for his pro-Palestinian activities. Convicted in 2005 of having, according to Israeli justice, attempted to assassinate the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel at the time, Ovadia Yosef, he was released in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange against the Franco-French soldier Israeli Gilad Shalit, held hostage in Gaza.
His wife, Elsa Lefort, has been banned from entering the territory since 2016 – and he, since October 2021, from leaving it, under penalty of not being able to return. The Israeli state also wants to withdraw his right of residence in Jerusalem for “lack of allegiance”, making him immediately liable to expulsion. Since March 7, he has been held in “administrative detention” in a military prison, for reasons which remain confidential, and for at least three months renewable.
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