Former Tunisian minister Kamel Jendoubi has accused Saudi Arabia of hacking into his mobile phone using the Israeli Pegasus programme when he headed a UN mission to investigate alleged crimes against humanity in Yemen.
According to Tunisian websites, he was contacted and told that there is a suspicion about his phone being targeted. Subsequent reports proved that this was the case. He was also told that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was behind the hacking.
"The investigations that were carried out by the UN mission that I headed proved that Saudi Arabia and the UAE committed war crimes in Yemen," explained Jendoubi, "whereas the Houthis did not." He noted that after the first UN mission report was issued, the Saudis were shocked. "Perhaps they then decided to spy on the mission, particularly at the beginning of 2018."
When it was suggested that he should be based in Beirut when writing his report, the former official refused. "It is no secret that Beirut is the capital of espionage. I was afraid for the investigators and for the citizens who submitted their testimonies to the mission."
There was no immediate comment from Riyadh about this accusation.
The US has included the Israeli NSO company, which produces Pegasus, and Kandero on its blacklist, because they sold spyware and programmes to foreign governments. This equipment has been used to target government officials, journalists and others. NSO is an Israeli company specialising in the development of cyber-espionage tools. It was founded in 2010.
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