Investigations find Pegasus spyware on the phones of six Palestinian activists

An investigation by Front Line Defenders found that six Palestinian human rights defenders installed Pegasus surveillance software on their cell phones, including four activists linked to three of the NGOs recently labeled “terrorists” by Israel.

Of the 74 devices analyzed by the organization, an analysis validated by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International, six contained this software, although it has not yet been established who is responsible for implanting it in the devices. Front Line Defenders has warned that “the actions taken by the Israeli government raise many questions”.

Among them the disfranchisement of Salá Hamuri, lawyer and human rights defender and Palestinian with ID card from Jerusalem, on October 18 because of the Israeli law of “violation of loyalty”. Hamuri’s phone was one in six infected.

Investigations find Pegasus spyware on the phones of six Palestinian activists
Investigations find Pegasus spyware on the phones of six Palestinian activists

“The disclosure of illegal espionage by peaceful Palestinian human rights defenders, on top of baseless allegations of terrorism against internationally respected human rights organizations, underscores the importance of the international community’s continued support for their legitimate work,” said Front Line Defender Executive Director Andrew Anderson.

The Front Line Defenders investigation followed an October 16 contact by an Al Haq employee regarding his phone number. Following the complaint, the organization’s digital protection coordinator Mohamad Al Maskati held a meeting with six Palestinian organizations to brief them on the incident and to ask them to have access to additional phones to investigate whether the software spanned more Equipment was present explains the organization by means of a statement.

Pegasus software, developed by Israeli company NSO, became the focus of controversy when an investigation by The Washington Post newspaper last August uncovered a list of 50,000 phones from around the world that could be attacked by the software. Those who use these phones include journalists, activists and business people.

NSO’s Pegasus software is used to gain access to the cell phones of terrorists, human traffickers, or pedophiles, but Amnesty International and other human rights organizations claim it has been used for other purposes by governments.

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