Paris, 24 May 2012:
A French court has opened an inquiry into whether the French technology company Amesys was complicit in acts . . .[restrict]of torture in Libya by supplying the Qaddafi regime with equipment to spy on people.
The enquiry opened on Monday. Today, Thursday, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights League (LDH) issued a statement welcoming the move. They said the inquiry was the result of a complaint they filed on 19 October last year about Amesys’ activities in Libya. In the complaint they referred to “crimes allegedly committed through the supplying to Qaddafi’s regime, beginning in 2007, of a surveillance system intended to monitor communications of the Libyan population”.
Amesys, a subsidiary of technology giant Bull, has rigorously denied the claim. In a statement on Tuesday it said that it “very strongly denies the accusation of ‘complicity in torture’ and hopes to quickly be able to inform the investigating magistrate of the reality of the case.”
The inquiry, according to FIDH, is being investigated by a Paris high court magistrate with experience of looking into crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.
FIDH have, however, complained about the length of time it has taken for the matter to be investigated.
“We regret that it took seven months before a judicial inquiry was actually opened concerning a such a serious case. Our organizations hope that the investigations will be quickly dealt with, in France as well as in Libya, to establish the truth and the potential responsibility of Amesys”, declared Patrick Baudouin, Honorary President and Coordinator of the Litigation Action Group (GAJ) of FIDH.
“This is a doubly symbolic case: On the one hand, because it involves a company that made a commercial agreement with a dictatorial regime, giving it the means to reinforce the repression of its population; on the other hand because it will contribute to bringing to light the serious crimes committed under Gaddafi’s regime”, stated Michel Tubiana, Honorary President of LDH.
Fidh and LDH say that when Tripoli was liberated last August, journalists from the Wall Street Journal entered a building where the regime monitored communications. They found manuals written in English carrying the logo of Amesys.
In 2007 Amesys entered into an agreement with Libya to provide it with technology for the purpose of intercepting communication, data processing and analysis. The Eagle Glint software that Amesys then developed was reportedly put up for sale by Bull two months ago. [/restrict]