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Spyware Charges Against French Company Dropped

FILE: Representative illustration of headphones, used to listen in on communications. Taken October 28, 2015

A Paris court ordered charges to be dropped Wednesday against a French company and its managers who were accused of complicity in torture after selling sophisticated spyware to the Egyptian government.

The Paris appeals court quashed the charges against Nexa Technologies Chairman Olivier Bohbot and CEO Stephane Salies among others, but did not order the case to be closed, meaning investigating magistrates will continue their enquiries.

Lawyers for the International Federation for Human Rights called the decision a "major disappointment" but said the "story was far from being over."

"We will continue to work to cast light on the consequences of the sale by Nexo of the Cerebro system to the Egyptian regime," they said in a statement.

Nexa Technologies and four executives were charged in 2021 over the sale of the Cerebro software to Egypt enabling President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's regime to spy on political opponents.

Nexa is managed by former executives from Amesys, another French IT firm which has been charged in a separate investigation into the sale of so-called "Eagle" spyware to former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

Charges of complicity in torture were confirmed against Amesys last November, but were dropped against two former employees of the group.