Moroccan authorities deny using spyware to follow critics

Amnesty says spyware is being used to follow critics in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco (AP) – Moroccan authorities said they “categorically reject” an Amnesty International report alleging that the government had used surveillance software to spy on the phone of a prominent journalist and human rights activist.

In a report published this week, Amnesty said that forensic analysis it conducted on Omar Radi’s mobile phone indicates that its communications were monitored from January 2019 using technology developed by the Israeli hacker-for-rent company NSO Group.

In a statement released late on Friday, Moroccan authorities rejected Amnesty’s “groundless allegations” stating that the report serves agendas motivated by hostility to Morocco and intelligence market competitors.

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

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

Radi was arrested last year after a tweet defending Protestants against the government. He was subsequently tried in March of this year, accused of insulting a judge with his tweet who slammed the prison sentences pronounced on protest leaders. He was sentenced to four months in prison and fined $ 50.

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