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The ruler of Dubai hacked the phone of his ex-wife Princess Haya using NSO Group's controversial Pegasus spyware in an unlawful abuse of power and trust, a senior high court judge has ruled.

The president of the family division found that agents acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, a close Gulf ally of Britain, hacked Haya and five of her associates while the couple were locked in court proceedings in London concerning the welfare of their two children.

Those hacked included two of Haya's lawyers, one of whom, Fiona Shackleton, sits in the House of Lords and was tipped off about the hacking by Cherie Blair, who works with the Israeli NSO Group.

In July, a Guardian investigation revealed for the first time that Haya and her associates were on a dataset believed to indicate people of interest to a government client of NSO, thought to be Dubai.

Sir Andrew McFarlane's damning judgment from 5 May, only now published, appears to confirm that finding - which was part of the Pegasus project investigation - and goes further in saying that unlawful surveillance was actually carried out.

Further reading ...

Sharia: No Escape From Dubai - Authoritarian Sheikh (Dec. 2018)

by Oui on Wed Oct 6th, 2021 at 06:35:07 PM EST
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High Court of Justice Family Division: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fact-finding judgment proceedings relating to welfare of two children

....

  1. Insofar  as  the  mother  alleges  that  the  father  has  directly  used  diplomatic  links  to neutralise or remove her diplomatic immunity, I am unable to make such a finding. I am however fully satisfied that the father, the State of Dubai and the UAE are afforded significant international respect and have, accordingly, great influence. The cooperation of  the  Indian  military  in  the  operation  to  capture  Latifa  is  one  demonstration  of  this power.  

  2. With regard to the poems that the father has published, it is outside the ability of this court to come to a firm view on the precise construction to be attributed to each verse. It is, however, clear that the poems are at least ambiguous and may well relate directly to the mother and that, therefore, the mother is justified in believing that they do and being intimidated by them. The clearest poem of all is `You Lived, You  Died'. In relation to that poem the father has accepted that this relates to the mother.  I am also satisfied that the statement that `I care not whether you live or die' is an express and public removal of any cloak of protection from the mother and an indication that the father will not be troubled if she lives or dies.

  3. Overall, I therefore find that the third group of the mother's allegations, save for number 18 relating to forced marriage, are largely proved on the balance of probabilities and that the father has therefore  acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening the mother, and that he has encouraged others to do so on his behalf.
by Oui on Fri Oct 8th, 2021 at 06:14:12 PM EST
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