LONDON - Morocco and its ambassador to France have decided to sue Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories for defamation before the Paris Criminal Court on Thursday.
The North African kingdom has decided to sue Amnesty and Forbidden Stories for defamation before the Paris Criminal Court, its lawyer announced Thursday in a statement.
"The kingdom of Morocco and its ambassador in France, Chakib Benmoussa, have mandated Me Olivier Baratelli to issue, as of today, two direct citations in defamation" against these two associations at the origin of the revelations on the customers of this designed software by Israeli company NSO, the statement continued.
"The Moroccan state immediately intends to go to the French court because it wants all the light to be shed on the false allegations of these two organizations which put forward elements without the slightest concrete and demonstrated proof," said the statement.
"The Moroccan state considers that it is facing a new list affair and that the past has amply demonstrated that it was easy to draw false conclusions from such practices," it said, adding that the unfounded media intention was aimed at “destabilising the deep diplomatic ties between Morocco and France.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Moroccan government lashed out at the global media consortium investigating the suspected widespread use of NSO’s Pegasus spyware to target journalists, human rights activists and politicians in multiple countries.
French newspaper Le Monde, a member of the consortium, reported that the cellphones of President Emmanuel Macron and 15 then-members of the French government may have been among potential targets in 2019 of surveillance by Pegasus spyware on behalf of a Moroccan security agency.
“The Kingdom of Morocco strongly condemns the persistent false, massive and malicious media campaign,” said the government, adding it “rejects these false and unfounded allegations, and challenges their peddlers ... to provide any tangible and material evidence in support of their surreal stories.”
A first procedural hearing is scheduled for October 8, but the trial is not expected to take place for about two years.