Summary: France opens judicial investigation targeting Qosmos for complicity in acts of torture in Syria

11 April 2014: the Prosecutor of the Paris Court has today announced its decision to open a judicial investigation into French ICT firm Qosmos for complicity in acts of torture in Syria. This news comes 18 months after SRT grantee the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), along with fellow human rights organisation Ligue des Droites de l’Homme (LDH), filed a complaint denouncing the alleged implication of French companies, in particular Qosmos, in the selling of surveillance material to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

This is the second time that French judicial authorities have agreed to investigate the alleged involvement of an ICT company which sold surveillance material to an authoritarian regime. An investigation was opened in May 2012 into the alleged implication of the French technology company Amesys in acts of torture in Libya.

Qosmos, a company specialising in Deep Packet Inspection (technology designed for real-time analysis of digital data), has been called into question several times for supplying the Syrian regime with electronic surveillance equipment. The DPI technology allows intelligence services in repressive regimes to keep track of dissidents more easily, notably by intercepting live electronic communications.

The armed conflict in Syria has led to between 100,000 and 150,000 deaths (mainly civilians), the arbitrary detention of tens of thousands of people, and a large number of enforced disappearances. Victims of repression at the hands of Assad’s regime include human rights defenders and activists, in particular cyber-activists who have been singled out because of their efforts to communicate and denounce human rights violations.

More information about the case from FIDH’s website:

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