News ID: 105890
Publish Date : 19 August 2022 - 21:35

LONDON (Middle East Eye) – A Saudi dissident who says that Riyadh installed spyware on his phones and ordered an assault on him can proceed with his lawsuit against the Riyadh regime, England’s high court ruled on Friday.
The judgment in Ghanem Al-Masarir’s case is the first-ever ruling in a UK court involving spyware and a foreign country and could set precedent for other British-based dissidents alleged to have been the targets of state-sponsored surveillance on British soil.
Masarir said it was a “huge relief” that the judgment had gone in his favor and said the alleged targeting with spyware and assault had had “a profound effect” on his life.
“I no longer feel safe and I am constantly looking over my shoulder. I no longer feel able to speak up for the oppressed Saudi people because I fear that any contact with people inside the kingdom could put them in danger,” he said.
“I look forward to presenting my full case to the court in the hope that I can finally hold the kingdom to account for the suffering I believe they have caused me.”
Masarir used his YouTube channel, which had more than 300 million views at the height of its popularity in 2018, to make fun of the Saudi royal family, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The lawsuit accuses the Saudi government of infecting Masarir’s phone in June 2018 with Pegasus, military-grade spyware that it acquired from Zionist company NSO Group.
His phone was examined by experts at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, who confirmed that he had been sent malicious texts associated with Pegasus and concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that Saudi Arabia was responsible, Masarir’s lawyers have said.
Once installed, it would have allowed them to access his microphone and camera to hear and record what he was doing, as well as examine location data, all stored messages and images, and the phone’s browser history.

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