A joint report from AccessNow and Front Line Defenders has revealed that Women Human Rights Defenders Ebtisam Al-Saegh from Bahrain and Hala Ahed Deeb from Jordan were hacked using the spyware developed by NSO Group’s Pegasus software.
I find the information in the report deeply disturbing. As Ebstiam says in her testimony:
I am in a state of daily fear and terror […] This fear has restricted my work. I am constantly anxious and afraid that I have put others at risk because of their contact with me, and also that I have put my family in a bad position.
Critically, the report emphasizes the impact of targeted surveillance against women human rights defenders:
The impact of targeted surveillance on women can be particularly grievous, given that political, societal, and gender power asymmetries often grant authorities opportunities to weaponize the information they extract through defamation, blackmail, and doxxing. This can include the publishing of private and intimate photos and conversations online.
The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” This includes “physical, sexual, and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.”
The report is available to read in full at the link below.