Loujain al-Hathloul sues 3 ex-US officials, UAE company
The Electronic Frontier Foundation announces that it has filed a lawsuit against three former US officials who Loujain al-Hathloul says helped hack her mobile phone, which led to her imprisonment and torture.
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul announced that she will sue three former US officials who worked in the US intelligence and military, noting that they hacked her mobile phone so that a foreign government could spy on her before she was imprisoned and tortured by Saudi authorities.
On Thursday, February 11, al-Hathloul was released following a detainment that lasted for more than 1,000 days.
Saudi authorities held the women's rights activist in solitary confinement for months and subjected her to multiple forms of abuse which include electric shocks, flagellation and sexual assault, according to rights organizations.
Al-Hathloul family members have repeatedly stated that some of the torture sessions took place in presence of Saud al-Qahtani, a close associate of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Thursday that it had filed a lawsuit before the US Federal Court on behalf of al-Hathloul against former US officials Mark Baer, Ryan Adams, and Daniel Gerek, in addition to a cybersecurity company contracted with the UAE called DarkMatter.
The hacking ultimately led, the lawsuit alleges, to Hathloul’s arrest from the UAE and rendition to Saudi Arabia, where she was detained, imprisoned, and tortured.
Bayer, Adams, and Gerek admitted last September to providing advanced computer hacking technology to the UAE, and the UAE agreed with them to pay approximately $1.7 million to resolve criminal charges in a deferred prosecution agreement, which the Ministry of Justice described as the first of its kind.
The Ministry of Justice described each of them as former intelligence or military personnel. According to an earlier report to the Public Security Agency, Bayer previously worked for the NSA.
The trio is part of US officials with backgrounds in espionage and hacking who work for foreign governments with questionable human rights records.
BIG NEWS: the fight to #FreeLoujain is not over.— Lina Alhathloul لينا الهذلول (@LinaAlhathloul) December 9, 2021
Our sister Loujain, represented by @EFF sues spyware maker DarkMatter for violating US anti-hacking and international human rights laws.
All the best my dear, you’re the best ❤️🌻
Full complaint here : https://t.co/gY5GJcTs9Y
“Companies that peddle their surveillance software and services to oppressive governments must be held accountable for the resulting human rights abuses,” EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene said in a statement.
“No government or individual should tolerate the misuse of spy malware to deter human rights or endanger the voice of the human conscious,” al-Hathloul said in a statement as part of her lawsuit, which was shared by EFF.
Reuters has previously reported that a campaign to hack individuals was run by DarkMatter– known as Project Raven – targeted and hacked al-Hathloul, and assigned her the codename “Purple Sword”.
“DarkMatter’s hacking of al-Hathloul’s iPhone was part of the UAE’s campaign of persecution against perceived dissidents of itself and Saudi Arabia,” the lawsuit alleges.