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Strasbourg/12.10.23/Turan: There is evidence that spyware was used for illegal purposes by several member-countries of the Council of Europe. Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) calls on the governments of these countries to provide information within three months on their use of such programs and investigate all cases of abuse. This is stated in the PACE resolution adopted on October 11 at the session taking place these days in Strasbourg.

Turan's special correspondent reports from Strasbourg that the resolution names countries that have used the "Pegasus" program and other similar programs for secret surveillance. These are Poland, Hungary, Greece, Spain and Azerbaijan.

The resolution on Azerbaijan says that Baku used "Pegasus", including against journalists, owners of independent media and civil society activists.

Besides, it is alleged that "recent reports have revealed its use due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict against 12 people working in Armenia, including government officials."

The resolution, based on the report by Peter Omzigt (Netherlands), also called on other member-states that appear to have acquired or used "Pegasus", including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to explain within 3 months how they use it and inform about existing oversight mechanisms.

The Assembly stated that covert surveillance of political opponents, government officials, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society for purposes other than those specified in the European Convention on Human Rights is a violation of the Convention.

The parliamentarians also requested information from Israel, the country of the "Pegasus" manufacturer, what it is doing in order not to export the program to countries where human rights are violated.

*On July 18, 2021, the French non-governmental organization "Forbidden stories" reported that politicians, journalists and lawyers were being monitored in a number of countries by installing the "Pegasus" program of the Israeli company "NSO Group" on mobile phones. At the same time, it was claimed that about 1,000 subscribers were monitored. -16C06-

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