Two French companies selling surveillance equipment are accused of complicity in torture with the Libyan and Egyptian regimes.
Sell surveillance equipment to states regardless of whether this material will be used to silence opponents could well be expensive, especially for French companies. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the League for Human Rights (LDH) had indeed decided to file a complaint against Amesys and Nexa Technologies. The two French companies sold cybersurveillance equipment to the Libyan and Egyptian regimes. The presidents of the two countries, Muammar Gaddafi at the time and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi would have used the products of Amesys and Nexa Technologies for the purpose of suppressing opponents.
The two NGOs had lodged a complaint separately, in particular for “complicity in acts of torture”. The investigating judges of the unit responsible for crimes against humanity of the Paris judicial tribunal have decided to indict four personalities: Philippe Vannier, president of Amesys until 2010, Olivier Bohbot, president of Nexa, Renaud Roques , managing director, and Stéphane Salies, the former president of the French company for “complicity in acts of torture”. The three Nexa executives are also accused of complicity in enforced disappearances in Egypt.
Initially, the two companies - Nexa is actually an offshoot of Amesys - sold electronic surveillance systems to Libya, between 2007 and 2011, then to Egypt. The Gaddafi regime had used French equipment to detect its opponents, imprison them and torture them. Amesys had argued that the rapprochement between Nicolas Sarkozy, then President of France, and Gaddafi had enabled them to sign contracts with Tripoli.
In addition to the NGOs which lodged a complaint, six victims of the Libyan regime became civil parties. The procedure took several years. Since 2017, these two cases run without seeing the end. Nexa Technologies, meanwhile, sold spyware to track opponents, some of whom have suffered "enforced disappearances", a specialty of the Sisi regime.
The judicial information concerning Nexa was "extended to facts of sale of surveillance technology to Saudi Arabia", specify the LDH. FIDH deplores the links between “the activity of these surveillance companies and human rights violations”. The Human Rights League has asked France to commit to "take all measures to prevent the export of 'dual-use' surveillance technologies to countries which seriously violate human rights".