PBI-Mexico concerned Cerezo Committee on list the Ministry of National Defence targeted with Pegasus spyware

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On October 4, PBI-Mexico tweeted:

“After the leak of data from social organizations that would be being spied on by the National Defense Secretariat, we are concerned that @comitecerezo appears on this list and that #Pegasus continues to be used against #defenders in #Mexico.”

This follows the Cerezo Committee tweeting:

“#GuacamayaLeaks About the documents of #SEDENA that have been made public and where @comitecerezo is labeled as part of the “Pressure groups” and within the “Subversion” Chapter.”

The Guardian has previously explained: “Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.”

That article adds that the hacking software was sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group to Mexico “where multiple different government agencies are known to have bought Pegasus.”

Pie de Pagina further reports:

The details of the alleged espionage of the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) with the Pegasus software were presented on Monday at a press conference. Representatives of the Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D), SocialTIC, Article 19 and Animal Político warned that they will promote legal actions before the Attorney General’s Office.

The complaint about the alleged espionage of the Army comes days after it was disseminated that millions of internal documents of the Sedena were extracted by the Guacamaya collective.

Originally the Guacamaya collective was a group of hackers dedicated to the defense of the environment but since at least last year they directed their batteries to the archives of the armies of some countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, Chile or Mexico.

Among the documents published by Guacamaya are a series of files with personal information of activists and human rights defenders. Among them organizations such as the Prodh Center, the Street Brigade, the 68 Committee, the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Human Rights Center and the Cerezo Mexico Committee.

The latter, in the voice of Francisco Cerezo, denounced that they are not surprised to be monitored but consider it extremely serious that they are being criminalized:

“It is not surprising but you can see how they criminalize the defense of human rights, they are not saying that we are defenders but power groups that put pressure on the Mexican State. We say that the Army does not change, no matter the government. Their role is always to be legally or illegally surveilling all activists. They will say that to prevent a situation that puts them at risk but it is also to protect themselves in cases where the military is involved,” explained Francisco Cerezo.

The activist stressed the importance of understanding that defending human rights is not the same as being part of insurgent groups, since in the Sedena document they are mentioned as part of insurgent groups:

“In this case there are two cases of disappeared people that we accompany and that is why they put us part of the subversion group. Within human rights, defending victims does not make us terrorists or part of the insurgent groups and it is a right that we all have,” he explained.

The Cerezo Committee calls for compliance with the human rights and agreements around them that the Mexican government has signed at the international level.

Espacio OSC has also stated: “We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, among whom is the member of the Management Team of Consorcio Oaxaca, Yesica Sánchez Maya, as well as the Director of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, Abel Barrera and the lawyer Vidulfo Rosales, who are also part of the Espacio OSC, as well as the other defenders and journalists subject to attempts at espionage.”

PBI-Mexico began accompanying Comité Cerezo in 2002.

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