Palestine lawyer sues NSO Group for Pegasus spyware surveillance
Palestine lawyer sues NSO Group for Pegasus spyware surveillance

Palestinian-French lawyer and human rights defender Salah Hammouri Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against the Israeli tech surveillance company NSO Group, claiming it had illegally infiltrated his phone using controversial Pegasus spyware. He filed the complaint jointly with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Ligue des droits de l’homme (LDH).

The infiltration was detected in an investigation by the Front Line Defenders, an Irish human rights group, last November and later confirmed by the Citizen Lab and FIDH. Hammouri alleges that the surveillance into his professional and private life was initiated in Jerusalem and continued in France, thereby amounting to a violation of his right to privacy under French law.

Hammouri has faced repeated persecution by Israeli authorities, including imprisonment, arbitrary arrests, travel bans, exorbitant bail and fines, house arrests, separation from his family and residency revocation. He currently faces deportation from Jerusalem, the city of his birth, to a three-month renewable administrative detention under the Emergency Regulations applied by the military in the West Bank.

Shawan Jabarin, the Vice President of FIDH, said, “Taking advantage of human kind’s achievements in the field of technologies to commit human rights violations must be stopped and accountability measures are urgently needed. Failing to bring NSO and affiliates to justice encourages the continuation of the persecution of human rights defenders.”

The lawsuit has been welcomed by human rights groups such as the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition and Access Now. Last December, a consortium of human rights organizations and independent experts had called on the European Union to impose “targeted sanctions” against the NSO Group to prohibit the sale, transfer and use of its surveillance technologies until adequate human rights safeguards are in place.