The investigation stops there. The Paris court has declared inadmissible the defamation lawsuits brought by Morocco against French NGOs and media that revealed or denounced Rabat’s use of the Pegasus spy software, learned The world, Friday, March 25. Morocco’s lawyer has expressed his intention to appeal.
The court rendered ten judgments declaring the inadmissibility of direct citations against The worldRadio France, France Media World, Mediapart, Humanity, Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International. The rulings are based on a section of the Freedom of the Press Act 1881, which “does not allow a State, which cannot be assimilated to an individual within the meaning of this text, to initiate a defamation suit”. The kingdom’s lawyers maintained that their request was admissible because it is not the State, but an administration – the secret services – which is attacking in defamation.
Several legal proceedings in Europe
Morocco was accused in July 2021 of having used Pegasus, software designed by the Israeli company NSO, as part of an extensive investigation carried out by a consortium of seventeen international media on the basis of data obtained by the organization Forbidden Stories and by Amnesty International. Speaking of“false and unfounded allegations”Morocco had initiated several legal proceedings in France, Spain and Germany.
The Pegasus software allows, once installed in a mobile phone, to spy on the user of the device, by accessing his messaging, his data, or by activating the device remotely for the purpose of audio or visual recording.
During the trial, the lawyers for the organizations and the media had in turn asked for the inadmissibility of this “gag procedure”. “Not less than six times” between 2018 and 2019, “the Court of Cassation came to repeat, once in Azerbaijan and five times in Morocco, which returned to the charge, that it was not admissible to act in defamation” as a state, said Simon Foreman for Amnesty International. “It’s a communication exercise exclusively”he argued.
Morocco’s lawyer, Olivier Baratelli, argued that this country had “the right to defend the terribly flouted honor of its intelligence services” by “irresponsible journalists”.