Surveillance and torture in Egypt and Libya: Amesys and Nexa Technologies executives indicted

Paris, 22 June 2021 — On 16 and 17 June, four executives of Amesys and Nexa Technologies were indicted by investigating judges of the crimes against humanity and war crimes unit of the Paris Judicial Court for complicity in torture in the Libyan portion of the investigation and complicity in torture and enforced disappearance in the Egyptian portion. The two companies are accused of having supplied surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes in Libya and Egypt.

For more information, see the Q&A.

These indictments arise from two separate complaints filed by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the French League for Human Rights (LDH), which denounced the companies for the sale of surveillance technology to the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi (in 2007) and the Egyptian regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (in 2014).

"This is a tremendous step forward. It means that what we see every day on the ground—namely the links between the activity of these surveillance companies and human rights violations—can be classified as crimes and lead to charges of complicity."

Patrick Baudouin and Clémence Bectarte, FIDH lawyers

On 19 October 2011, our organisations filed a first complaint against Amesys following the revelations published in the Wall Street Journal and WikiLeaks. In 2013, FIDH accompanied Libyan victims of the Gaddafi regime who testified before judges about the way they had been identified and then arrested and tortured, after having been subjected to surveillance by the Libyan security services.

On 9 November 2017, FIDH and LDH, with the support of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, filed a complaint with the crimes against humanity and war crimes unit of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the participation of this same company (which has since become Nexa Technologies) in the repressive operations carried out by Sisi’s regime, through the sale of surveillance equipment. This request to open a new investigation for acts of complicity in torture and enforced disappearances committed in Egypt followed revelations by the French newspaper Télérama in July 2017, according to which the company Amesys had "changed its name and shareholders to sell its services to the new Egyptian government—without the French state finding fault with this."

In May 2017, Amesys was placed under the status of assisted witness [1] for complicity in acts of torture committed in Libya between 2007 and 2011.

Since then, our organisations and the civil parties who had the courage to testify before the French justice system have been waiting for developments in these cases, and had repeatedly expressed incomprehension at the slow pace of progress.

"We hope that this long-awaited acceleration of the judicial process will continue, and that the French authorities will resolutely commit to taking all measures to prevent the export of ’dual-use’ surveillance technologies to countries that seriously violate human rights. This case shows that this has not been the case so far."

Michel Tubiana, lawyer and honorary president of LDH.
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