Morocco rejects Amnesty’s letter, demands NGO provide proof

Moroccan authorities say they are still waiting for response from Amnesty International to the government’s letter requesting it to provide evidence of its allegations of journalist’s phone hacking.

RABAT – Moroccan authorities on Saturday rejected Amnesty International’s renewed accusations that they hacked journalist Omar Radi’s mobile phone, reiterating their demand that the human rights organisation provide evidence.

The authorities said that they were still waiting for a response from Amnesty to the government’s letter requesting the NGO to provide evidence of its allegations in its latest report against Morocco.

Amnesty published on June 22 a report alleging that journalist Omar Radi’s mobile phone was subjected to several attacks using a "sophisticated new technique" that silently installed Israeli cyber company NSO's Pegasus spyware, a claim that Moroccan authorities vehemently dismissed as “baseless.”

“Moroccan authorities are still awaiting Amnesty international’s response to Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Otmani’s letter,” said, Saturday in Rabat, Hasna Tribak, Director of Legal Studies and International Cooperation at the Ministry of State responsible for human rights and relations with Parliament.

“They are also still waiting for the convincing scientific evidence that they requested,” Tribak told state news agency MAP.

Morocco reiterated Thursday its full rejection of Amnesty’s report that accused the North African of hacking journalist Omar Radi’s mobile phone.

It stressed that the report's claim “that a Moroccan journalist was the victim of an espionage operation by Moroccan authorities, by subjecting his phone to multiple attacks using the advanced technology of a foreign company” was a serious accusation without evidence that reflected Amnesty’s involvement and systematic prejudice against the North African country and the underestimation of its human rights progress and gains recognised worldwide.

Tribak said that the letter of Amnesty’s Regional Director Heba Morayef did not respond to Otmani’s correspondence.

Moraryef published Friday a letter on Amnesty’s website, claiming that they would provide further detail with regards to their research methodology.

The London-based rights group said it remained concerned about the authorities’ use of NSO spyware in Morocco against human rights defenders and journalists and reiterated its recommendation to respect the right to privacy and to freedom of expression.

But Rabat rejected Amnesty’s renewed accusations which it said lacked evidence again.

“The letter merely repeats the same light allegations and gratuitous accusations contained in the report, without providing scientific evidence or objective arguments," Tribak.

“The Regional Director is neither the recipient nor the level which the Head of Government addressed,” she said, adding that Otmani addressed Amnesty’s Acting Secretary General in London.

The Moroccan government said that it would take the necessary measures to defend its national security to enlighten both the domestic and international public opinion regarding these rejected fallacies.