• Catalonia Outrage in the Government for the alleged espionage of 60 pro-independence leaders such as Aragonès, Puigdemont or Torra

  • Basque Country Urkullu joins Bildu's request for Sánchez to give an "urgent explanation" for the alleged political wiretapping

The MEP and former president of the Generalitat,

Carles Puigdemont

, and the former vice president and leader of the ERC,

Oriol Junqueras

, have announced

legal actions in the

European Parliament in

Spain

,

France

,

Switzerland

,

Luxembourg

and

Germany

for the case of espionage against pro-independence leaders uncovered in an investigation by the cybersecurity platform CitizenLab through

The New Yorker

magazine .

Some alleged eavesdropping with which the Government of Spain defends that it has "nothing to do" and "nothing to hide", although its spokesperson,

Isabel Rodríguez

, has not clarified the role of

the National Intelligence

Center (CNI) relying on the national security law.

Under the so-called

CatalanGate

, the Catalan independentists have denounced in

Brussels

a massive cyber espionage between 2019 and 2020 by the

Pegasus

program , a most sophisticated tool, capable of puncturing and infecting any device without leaving any trace.

The New Yorker

documents that dozens of Catalan politicians from the

ERC

,

Junts

and the

CUP

, as well as members of

the Catalan National Assembly

and

Òmnium Cultural

, lawyers and family members would have suffered the scrupulous monitoring of this invasive software.

The president of the Generalitat himself,

Pere Aragonès

, is one of the 63 names that make up the list, which also includes Catalan MEPs

Diana Riba

,

Antoni Comí

and

Jordi Solé

.

The investigation estimates that Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras were watched indirectly through relatives such as their wives or lawyers.

All Catalan presidents from 2010 onwards would have been victims.

The great unknown is who or who is behind this espionage.

From Citizen Lab they avoid pointing the accusing finger directly against the Spanish State, but point out that there are "numerous pieces" that indicate that "one or several entities" within the Executive could be involved.

They recall that the CNI has been a client of the Israeli group

NSO

, manufacturer of

Pegasus

, since "at least since 2015".

In a joint press conference held in the European Parliament,

Elisenda Paluzie

, president of the Catalan National Assembly, has directly pointed to the "Spanish State" as being responsible for the "greatest case of political espionage in

Europe

and in the world" with this software. "It is a structural attack against the Catalan movement for self-determination," he pointed out.

In the appearance of the European Parliament, Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, who saw each other for the first time since the tense meeting in

Waterloo

held last summer, have announced that they will present all kinds of individual and collective complaints in this case.

They will reach different countries such as France, Switzerland or Luxembourg and different jurisdictions, such as the

Court of Justice of the EU

.

Sources close to the Catalan environment explain that the legal process could begin by investigating the company itself, as a first step to "pull the thread", while the speakers do not clarify who will be the recipients of the complaints: the

CNI

?

the

Ministry of Justice

?

the

National Police

?

The meeting, in addition, has made clear the differences that continue to separate the Junts politician and the ERC politician.

The former Catalan president has not hesitated to request the end of the dialogue with the Sánchez Executive.

"It would not be understood that after this scandal he would continue to trust a government that is part of this plot," he pointed out.

On his part, his former vice president has lowered the tone, assuring that the ERC will ask for explanations but without slamming the door on the "useful" path of negotiation and dialogue.

The 'Brussels bubble' also in the magnifying glass

Organizations such as Amnesty International demand that the Government of Pedro Sánchez clarify whether it has contracted the services of Pegasus to spy on Catalan politicians.

"The Spanish government must clearly say whether or not it is a client of NSO Group. In addition, it must carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the use of Pegasus spyware against the Catalan figures identified in this investigation," says Likhita Banerji, researcher at Amnesty International on Technology and Human Rights.

The position of the European Commission is reduced to remembering that these practices are illegal, but the framework of action of the Community Executive is limited, since the Member States are responsible for investigating and prosecuting these alleged crimes.

A poisonous task because on some occasions it is the national governments themselves that have contracted the services of NSO Group.

John Scott-Railton, a researcher at Citizen Lab, in the same appearance in the European Parliament, pointed out that the use of cyber espionage, which began with the focus on autocratic countries and dictatorships, is increasingly widespread in democracies such as "Poland, Hungary, India or Mexico."

As they pass through the community capital, one of the strategies of the separatists has been to equate Spain with Poland, one of the Member States on the tightrope of the rule of law, and stress that these actions have no place in the EU.

"Spain has illegally used Pegasus to attack its dissidents," said Xavier Antich, president of Omnium Cultural.

As it did during the 1-O stage, the independence movement is now centering its cause in Brussels and in international circles.

Puigdemont has demanded urgent action from the presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament and has announced the presentation of cases at the UN and the Council of Europe.

Up to 50,000 phone numbers in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Morocco or Mexico would have been hacked by the Pegasus spyware, from the Israeli group NSO.

The illegal watch list includes the names of Emmanuel Macron, President of France, or relatives of the Saudi dissident killed in Turkey Jamal Khassogi.

The macrofiltration was revealed by different NGOs and the media during the summer of 2021. And since then, its range has not stopped growing.

This same Tuesday, the European Parliament's Investigation Commission holds its first meeting to clarify the cases of espionage associated with Pegasus and other equivalent programs used in many of the Member States.

A few days ago, the Reuters agency revealed exclusively that senior officials of the European Commission had been victims of this surveillance system, which violates European legislation on privacy, data protection and fundamental rights.

Among them, the name of the Belgian Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, stood out.

"It is not the first time that we find out that they are trying to spy on the European institutions. But hacking a commissioner's phone is another level. It is crucial that we know who and why," said Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld. , from Renew Europe, which is the leader of the Pegasus Research Commission in the European Parliament.

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Know more

  • Carles Puigdemont

  • Oriol Junqueras

  • Elizabeth Rodriguez Garcia

  • Margaret Oaks

  • Independence Catalonia

  • European Comission

  • Poland

  • Europe

  • Mexico

  • European Parliament

  • Hungary

  • CKD

  • Saudi Arabia

  • India

  • Morocco

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • Turkey

  • cup

  • Cultural Omnium

  • Pere Aragones

  • France

  • Swiss

  • National Police

  • Pedro Sanchez

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