Will The European Union Punish Morocco’s Makhzen Regime Over ‘Pegasus’ Spy Scandal?
On Monday, a European Parliament committee called for the punishment of countries and organizations that used the “Pegasus” software to spy on the phones of politicians and journalists. Morocco was among the countries accused of using the software to spy on European politicians.
According to international media, a European Parliament committee on Monday approved a report recommending strict conditions on the use of spyware to protect citizens from illegal surveillance following the scandals surrounding the Pegasus program.
A special European Parliament committee investigating the issue adopted the recommendations by an overwhelming majority and called for accountability for those who used Pegasus to spy on the phones of politicians and journalists.
A plenary session of the European Parliament will vote on the report’s recommendations, probably by the summer.
The chair of the parliamentary committee of inquiry, Sophie Entfeld, said the 14-month investigation concluded that “by highlighting the undemocratic and illegal practices of some EU governments, the European Commission and the European Council have failed to act despite the scale of the scandal. Their silence makes them complicit.”
The investigation of the European representatives included the use of “Pegasus” in the member states of the European Union, namely Spain, Greece, Poland, Cyprus and Hungary, and the collection of information, as well as in Israel, where the program was developed by the company “NSO”.
An investigation by a group of 17 international media outlets revealed that Pegasus was used to spy on 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 company presidents in different countries.
Morocco is one of the countries accused of using Pegasus to spy on international officials, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who has caused a quiet crisis between the two countries in recent months, and Spanish politicians, including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Last February, the European Parliament heard from a number of people who believe Morocco is spying on them, including Sahrawi women campaigning for self-determination in the Western Sahara conflict, such as Aminatou Haidar and Sultana Khia. The European Parliament had set up a special committee to investigate this matter, which heard a number of officials from European countries whose governments had bought the program, accusing the Moroccan regime of being involved in the horrendous spying operation.
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports that the Spanish People’s Party, which holds the opposition parliamentary majority, reacted swiftly to the results of the European Parliament investigation, calling on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to provide more transparency and clarity about Morocco’s role in spying on his phone, especially since the parliamentary inquiry heard from senior intelligence officials last November.
An investigation by a group of 17 international media outlets revealed that Pegasus was used to spy on 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 company directors in various countries around the world, including the Kingdom of Morocco.