Sunday, December 3, 2023

Nuria Piera, the first person spied on by the Pegasus program in the DR

A telephone number of the Dominican investigative journalist Nuria Piera was attacked by him software pegasus spy, which constitutes the first case confirmed of this practice in the Dominican Republic, denounced this Wednesday Amnesty International (AI).

In an investigation published this May 3 on the occasion of the World Day of Press Freedomit is revealed that the analysis of the AI ​​Security Lab confirmed that a mobile device of Piera was infected by Pegasus on three occasions, between 2020 and 2021.

Specifically, this human rights organization found evidence that the device had been targeted by Pegasus for the first time on July 20, 2020which was repeated around September 8, 2021 and on October 1, as confirmed by the interdisciplinary laboratory Citizen Lab.

In statements to EFE, Piera explained that at that time he was investigating possible acts of corruption by members of the Government, such as the now ex-minister donald guerreroand from the forces of order and also complaints about sexual harassment in the Chamber of Accounts, some journalistic work that, according to an AI statement, were “sensitive and of great repercussion”.

“You feel upset. indignantbut it is not a surprise, one lives with that neurosis” before the possibility of being spied on, said Piera.

In his case, the information that she had been spied on and now, when Amnesty has confirmed it, “you see that the suspicion has become reality (…) and that this surveillance is used for very particular interests of the authorities,” said the journalist, who has not yet decided whether you will take action because of the difficulties in proving and obtaining redress for these facts in Dominican Republic.

Apart from the freedom of the press and the security Personally, Piera is very concerned about the “difficult situation” of the sources with which they work when a journalist is spied on and also with regard to future informants.


International Amnesty urged the Dominican authorities to carry out “without delay an independent, impartial and transparent on the illegitimate selective surveillance of journalists”, including the Pegasus attack on Piera.

“Given that the surveillance poses enormous risks to the physical safety and mental well-being of those who practice journalism and can endanger their sources, colleagues, friends and family members, the Dominican authorities must investigate this case immediately and establish effective safeguards to protect these people and prevent these events from happening again,” he said. Elina Castillo Jimenezdigital surveillance researcher at Amnesty International.

The Attorney General of the Republic of the Dominican Republic and the Ministry of Interior and Police assured AI that they have not purchased or used Pegasus during the current mandate, which began in August 2020.

At the time when the Pegasus attacks on Piera were detected, the Government of Danilo Medina and then the current Executive chaired by Luis Abinader.

With the attack on Piera, pointed out the director of Amnesty International for the Americas, Erika Guevara Rosas, “the Dominican Republic joins the list of countries in which it is used software spy to silence and intimidate brave journalists. After having exposed multiple cases in Mexico and El Salvador, we will continue to investigate any indication that points to possible new uses of Pegasus in the Dominican Republic.”

In at least eighteen countries it has been confirmed by forensic analysis that journalists were being attacked with software spy, although, AI alerts, “the real magnitude of this abuse of surveillance technology is likely to be much higher.”

Faced with these situations, Amnesty calls on States to adopt with urgency a global moratorium on such programs.


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