Ignacio Cembrero was selected for surveillance with a target with the Pegasus spyware in 2019. Forbidden Stories was unable to analyze the phone to confirm the infection.
Who is he?
Ignacio Cembrero is a Spanish freelance reporter who has worked as a Maghreb correspondent for most of his career. He has been repeatedly attacked by Moroccan authorities for his reporting. In 2013, the Moroccan prime minister filed a criminal complaint in Spain against the journalist. The prime minister alleged Cembrero was inciting terrorism when he included a link to an Al-Qaeda video in a blog post on El País’s website two months prior. The case was dismissed twice by a Spanish judge.
Cembrero then went on to work for El Mundo. There, he incurred the wrath of media owner Ahmed Charai, whom he said was connected to the Moroccan intelligence agency. Charai filed a complaint that was also dismissed by a Spanish judge.
Cembrero keeps writing about Morocco, and Mohammed VI in particular, for various publications including El Confidencial in Spain and Orient XXI in France.
"Marruecos silencia a los últimos periodistas críticos aireando su vida privada" El Confidencial (2019)Read
"Cuando Marruecos rompió con Francia, sus servicios secretos entraron en guerra" El Confidencial (2020)Read
"La rebelión del príncipe heredero de Marruecos, inspirada por la princesa Salma" El Confidencial (2021)Read
Moroccan authorities said there was no proof of them being a client of NSO Group. NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”
The Pegasus Project
An exclusive leak of 50,000 records of phone numbers shows how NSO Group's spyware has been widely misused to spy on journalists, human rights defenders, as well as lawyers and heads of state.Read
All the articles
Media organizations in 11 countries joined forces to investigate this massive cybersurveillance scandal and publish dozens of stories in 8 languages.Read