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22 Jun 2021

France: Judicial investigation opens into Amesys and Nexa Technologies' surveillance equipment sales to Libya & Egypt linked to torture & disappearances

In October 2011, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) filed a first complaint against the French surveillance technology company Amesys following revelations published in the Wall Street Journal and WikiLeaks about the installation of an extensive electronic surveillance system in Libya that had enabled the Gaddafi regime to identify and target Libyan activists and political opponents. 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.

In 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 repressive operations carried out by Egyptian authorities, 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 for complicity in acts of torture committed in Libya between 2007 and 2011.

In June 2021, four executives of Amesys and Nexa Technologies were indicted by investigating judges 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 judicial investigation has also been extended to include the sale of surveillance technology to Saudi Arabia.