British reports revealed that Arab activists in Britain are filing lawsuits against the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over targeting and hacking their phones and personal accounts.
The Middle East Eye website reported that these activists moved to Britain several decades ago to escape their “oppressive governments”, believing that they could speak freely, but now they are wondering whether their adopted country is as safe as they initially thought.
International reports have recently proven the use of the Pegasus spyware program, developed by the Israeli company NSO, to hack the smartphones of officials, activists, dissidents and journalists worldwide.
Marwa Fatfta, director of the Middle East and North Africa at the International Access Now organization, told the MEE: “Usually, countries are entities that are immune from lawsuits because of the State Immunity Law of 1978, which was passed before the emergence of electronic spyware.”
But she made it clear that the lawyer of the Saudi opposition, Ghanem Al-Dosari, believes that what his client was subjected to is an exception to the law.
Al-Dosari’s case will be the first court decision regarding a spyware program and a foreign country and may set a precedent for opponents who, like him, have been attacked. It may be an example for lawyers and oversight experts around the world.
Fatfta pointed out that the fear of Arab opponents of the spying program has multiplied due to the British government’s silent stance on the attacks against them or the failure of the law enforcement forces to follow up on them.
The documents of the Israeli spyware program Pegasus revealed last year that journalists, politicians and activists on the European continent were attacked with the spyware.
Newspapers revealed that 50 thousand phones are likely to be hacked or considered necessary for censorship in the future.
Like Al-Dosari, most of the opponents who spoke to Middle East Eye had no doubt that Britain was immune to failure, as one of them survived a fire in his house, another found a knife outside his kitchen window, and on the same day, he received a message with codes: Emoji in the form of a knife and the word “soon”, according to the MEE.