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Prosecutors Probe Complaint Over Syria’s Surveillance Suppliers

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- French prosecutors are looking into a complaint by human rights organizations concerning French companies alleged to supply Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with surveillance equipment to use against protesters.

The preliminary inquiry was opened on July 26 into the International Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights League’s complaint against Qosmos SA, a prosecution spokeswoman said today, declining to be named according to office policy.

“Companies must know that they cannot sell this type of equipment to authoritarian regimes without being held accountable,” Michel Tubiana, LDH’s honorary president, said in a joint statement by the groups posted online.

Qosmos is a Paris-based company whose products were purchased to build a system for al-Assad’s regime to scan the Syrian communications network, according to a Bloomberg News report in November. Violence began in Syria in March 2011 and has killed more than 19,000 people, 5,000 of whom are government troops, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Benoit Chabert, a lawyer for Qosmos, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the complaint. Calls to the Qosmos weren’t answered.

Agence France-Presse reported on the complaint earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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