Saudi dissident to sue kingdom over alleged hacking
The High Court ruled on Thursday that Ghanem al-Dosari, whose YouTube channel mocking the Saudi royal family has amassed 300 million views, is bringing claims against the kingdom over personal injuries and harassment from the spyware, as well as a claim over a physical attack in 2018 he believes was directed by the Saudi regime.
The ruling comes just days after Amazon boss Jeff Bezos claimed the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked his phone through a video file contained in a Whatsapp message.
Lawyers for al-Dosari, now based in London and believed to live under police protection, said the decision to allow the lawsuit showed al-Dosari had an "arguable" case against Saudi Arabia, and would set a precedent for other victims of oppressive regimes who are targeted in the UK.
In a statement, the activist said he was "delighted" at the ruling.
|For years it has seemed like the Saudi regime cannot be touched by the legal system but finally I have the opportunity to hold them to account|
"For years it has seemed like the Saudi regime cannot be touched by the legal system but finally I have the opportunity to hold them to account in a fair and independent court of law and hopefully see justice served. I hope this latest development gives confidence to others who have been targeted in the same way by the regime that they can fight back," he said.
Spyware experts at Citizen Lab examined al-Dosari's phones after he suspected they had been hacked. The lab said they were confident al-Dosari had been targeted by the Saudi state, after they found he had been sent malicious texts containing links that connected to Pegasus spyware and NSO infrastructure.
Martyn Day, of law firm Leigh Day, said: "This is a rare case brought in this country against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are pleased that the court has agreed that given the circumstances in this case, the targeting of an individual while he was living in the UK, they are prepared to enable us to serve the formal proceedings on the Saudi Government," he added.Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay connected