France: Opening of a judicial investigation targeting Qosmos for complicity in acts of torture in Syria

More than 18 months after FIDH and LDH filed a complaint before the Prosecutor of the Paris Court denouncing the alleged implication of French companies, in particular Qosmos, in the selling of surveillance material to Bachar El Assad’s regime, FIDH and LDH welcome today’s decision to open a judicial investigation for complicity of acts of torture in Syria.

This investigation has been attributed to the specialised unit in crimes against humanity and war crimes created in January 2012 within the Paris Tribunal.

This new development follows the opening, in May 2012, of another judicial investigation into the alleged implication of the French company Amesys for complicity to acts of torture in Libya. It is the second time that French judicial authorities agree to investigate the alleged involvement of an ICT company which sold surveillance material to an authoritarian regime.

Qosmos, a company specialised in supplying Deep Packet Inspection, material designed for real time analysis of digital data that transit over the network, has been called into question several times by several different sources, for supplying the Syrian regime with an electronic surveillance equipment. This particular technology, at the hands of regimes such as the one of Bashar Al-Asad, enables intelligence services to perfect their means of repression against dissident voices, notably by intercepting live electronic communications with the help of key-words.

« It is essential that the French justice brings light to the possible implication of the Qosmos company in providing the Syrian regime with surveillance material intended to spy on the Syrian population. All of the judicial lessons must be learned from this investigation » declared Patrick Baudouin, lawyer and FIDH Honorary President.

« We are satisfied with the Prosecutor’s office decision and hope that this judicial investigation can be carried out without any political interferences », declared Michel Tubiana, lawyer and LDH Honorary President.

The repression orchestrated by the Syrian regime for the last 3 years against its own people has led to at least 130,000 deaths, mainly civilians, and the arbitrary detention of tens of thousands of people and a large number of forced disappearances. People are systematically tortured in the detention centres. Victims of repression include human rights defenders, activists, including cyber-activists who have been singled out because of their efforts to communicate and denounce human rights violations. The regime’s tight hand over the communication tools used by the population and the activists seems to have contributed extensively to exposing them to the repression they have been and continue to suffer from.

More information on cases initiated by FIDH and LDH

Read more