ALGIERS- Algeria has expressed, on Thursday, its “deep concern” over the widespread use of Pegasus spyware by Morocco to spy on Algerian officials and citizens and vigorously condemned “this unacceptable systematic infringement of human rights and basic freedoms.”
“Algeria expresses its deep concern following the revelations (…) reporting the large-scale use by the authorities of certain countries, and in particular by the Kingdom of Morocco, of a spy software called + Pegasus + against Algerian officials and citizens, ”said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
According to an investigation by the Forbidden Stories consortium and Amnesty International, thousands of Algerian telephone numbers – some of which belong to senior political and military officials – have been identified as potential targets of the Pegasus software, marketed by the the Zionist company NSO during the year 2019, say the French daily Le Monde and the French-language news site Tout sur l’Algerie (TSA).
These revelations sparked general indignation in Algeria, especially on social networks.
“Algeria strongly condemns this inadmissible systematic attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms which also constitutes a flagrant violation of the principles and standards governing international relations”, added the Algerian ministry, denouncing an “illegal, unwelcome and dangerous practice” .
News outlets including Le Monde and the Washington Post had reported, on Sunday, that the software, developed by the Zionist firm NSO Group, had been used by governments to spy on activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians around the world.
Public Prosecution at the Tribunal of Sidi M’hamed has ordered the opening of an investigation into spying operations against Algeria’s interests, and the wiretapping of Algerian personalities, according to a communiqué issued by the Public Prosecutor at Algiers Judicial Council on Thursday.
The communiqué stated that “in light of what was reported by some national and international media and reports received from the governments of some countries on spying operations against Algeria’s services and eavesdropping on Algerian citizens and personalities through spyware designed for this purpose, “Public Prosecution at the Algerian Judicial Council informs the public opinion that the General Prosecutor at Sidi M’hamed tribunal ordered the opening of a preliminary investigation to investigate these facts.”
For this purpose, “the competent judicial police services have been assigned to combat cyber and information crimes,” noting that “these facts, if proven, constitute crimes punishable by Algerian law.”
These crimes are represented in “the felony of collecting information for the purpose of handing it to a foreign country whose collection and exploitation would harm the interests of national defense”, “the misdemeanor of entering through fraud or illegal methods in an automated data processing system” as well as “the misdemeanor of violating the confidentiality of communications”.
It is worth noting that the opening of this investigation comes in accordance with the provisions of Article 11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as explained by the same source.