Senior Catalan politician accuses Spain of ‘political espionage’

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AFP

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Roger Torrent called for investigation into alleged spying


A prominent Catalan pro-independence politician has accused the Spanish government of spying on his cell phone.

Roger Torrent, President of the Catalan Parliament, spoke after details of the alleged spying were revealed in a joint investigation by the Guardian and El Pais newspapers.

Torrent said it was evidence of “political espionage against political opponents” in Spain.

Madrid has denied these allegations.

The Guardian and El Pais newspapers reported that Mr. Torrent had been notified that his phone had been targeted last year using Pegasus, an Israeli-made spyware program.

The makers of the tool say it is only sold to governments to track down criminals and terrorists.

Torrent was warned of spyware by researchers working with WhatsApp.

On Tuesday, Torrent called for a full investigation into what happened.

“This is the first time that we have had concrete confirmation of what many of us knew and denounced … We knew that illegal practices were directed against the cause of independence. Now we have some evidence, ”he said.

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The office of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has denied the charges.

A spokesperson told AFP news agency that the government was not aware that Mr. Torrent and another former Catalan lawmaker “had been hacked via their mobile phones.”

“In Spain, any intervention concerning a mobile phone is always done legally,” she explained.

Catalonia’s desire for independence plunged Spain into its greatest political crisis in 40 years. Madrid saw its autonomy suspended for almost seven months by Madrid after the failure of an attempted rupture in 2017.

In October last year, the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan politicians and activists to prison terms ranging from nine to 13 years for this attempt at independence.

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