Israel’s NSO Helped Moroccan Gov’t Spy on Journalist, Amnesty Claims

Israeli cyber espionage company NSO provided tools that helped the Moroccan regime track a local journalist named Omar Radi, according to a thorough investigation that human rights organization Amnesty International conducted over the past few months. The report was due to be released on Monday.

The espionage against Radi began only a few days after NSO ostensibly committed itself to a new policy of transparency in keeping with the United Nations’ human rights guidelines for companies, according to the Amnesty investigation.

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This comes after a long list of cases where dictatorial regimes allegedly used NSO’s cyber tool against journalists, rights workers and dissidents.

Radi is an independent, award-winning Moroccan journalist who lives in Rabat. His work is published by several news outlets, including radio and television stations, but primarily appears in the local newspaper LeDesk. In an interview with the organization Forbidden Stories he stated, “I specialize in investigating political power and its relationship with business, the business world, etc. I also work on issues related to human rights, especially social movements and protests, and also the repression of people demanding rights and freedoms.”

Forbidden Stories is an international organization focused on journalistic freedom and is working with Amnesty to publicize Radi’s story around the world, including in TheMarker.

The press pass of Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, June 21, 2020

In December, Radi was detained by Moroccan authorities, several weeks after he published a tweet criticizing the Moroccan justice system in a ruling against local protesters. He was held for a week. In March he stood trial in Casablanca over that tweet, was convicted and given a four-month suspended sentence and a fine.

The detention, trial and conviction are part of Morocco’s policy of persecuting dissidents, Amnesty says. “The Moroccan authorities have lately intensified their crackdown on peaceful dissent, with arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of individuals, including journalist Omar Radi, rappers and Youtubers, many of whom have been targeted simply for criticizing the King or other officials,” states Amnesty’s report.