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France accuses Nexa Technologies of 'complicity in Egypt torture'

November 29, 2021 at 2:59 pm

Egyptian police, December 30, 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]

The French judiciary yesterday accused local company Nexa Technologies of embroilment in “acts of torture and forced disappearances.”

Nexa was recently reported to have sold cyber-surveillance equipment to the Egyptian regime, enabling it to track opponents.

On 12 October, the investigating judge in charge issued an indictment against four company executives and officials.

Nexa’s lawyer, Me Francois Zimeray, declined to comment during his call with Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The judicial inquiry was opened in 2017 following a complaint filed by the International Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights League, with the support of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). The lawsuit was based on a survey conducted by Télérama magazine, which revealed in March 2014 the sale of a “€10 million ($11.3 million) listening system to fight against the Muslim Brotherhood.”

This so-called “Cerebro” programme makes it possible to track a target’s electronic communications in real time, for example from an email address or a phone number.

Rights groups accused this programme of having “served the wave of repression against opponents of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi,” which according to the CIHRS had resulted in “more than 40,000 political prisoners in detention in Egypt.”

Nexa was also accused in 2013 of having sold a programme to the late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi allowing him to arrest Libyan opponents from 2007 to 2011.

READ: France continues to ignore human rights abuses and invests in Egypt