Elected officials denounce political espionage by Spain: “This is a systemic attack on a political project”

Esquerra’s parliamentary group expresses its support for the Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia and the Leader of the party group at Barcelona City Council after the Pegasus spyware scandal

The Speaker of Parliament Roger Torrent and the Leader of the Esquerra Republicana group on Barcelona City Council Ernest Maragall denounced the persecution of the independence movement and the violation of fundamental rights perpetrated by the Spanish State at a meeting with the Esquerra party group in Parliament, after it was revealed yesterday that both have been victims of espionage with Pegasus, a spyware that can only be acquired by governments and allows infiltration of mobile phones.

During the meeting convened as a show of support for Mr Torrent and Mr Maragall, the Speaker of Parliament denounced the existence of “political persecution of the independence movement, a dirty war against a peaceful, democratic, legitimate political ideal.” He underlined that “now we have obvious evidence, data that corroborates it.” He also recalled that they have been suffering from this “dirty war” for a long time: “Spying is very serious, but it is even more serious and abominable when you have people in prison and in exile,” referring to the political exiles and prisoners held by Spain. In the face of this recent scandal, he called on his colleagues in the Esquerra group to unite in demanding that the Spanish government “gets to the bottom of the scandal, investigating and holding accountable those responsible, and putting an end to illegal practices.”

In the same vein, Mr Maragall stated that “the evidence that we are facing a directed and coordinated action against the independence movement is now indisputable, undeniable.” He pointed out that although the espionage on his mobile phone took place between April and May 2019, Spain bought the Pegasus software in 2015: “The story begins much earlier; it is part of a perfectly organized strategy with the aim of destroying our political, national project.”

“We are before a flagrant and systematic violation of rights,” he said, adding that the case was “worse than Watergate”: “That was an anecdote in a specific political battle in an electoral process; this is a systemic attack on institutions, on a country, on citizens and on a political project.” He went on: “This case is a Catalangate that defines what the Spanish State is; we are obliged not only to continue with our aspiration for freedom, but to gain it,” he defended.

The Leader of the parliamentary group Sergi Sabrià was also emphatic: “This information shows that this is a general cause against independence and that they want to annihilate their political rivals.” He added “It is not just interference in communications, but also in the privacy of all of us as citizens in a dirty political war,” he warned. And referring to Mr Torrent and Mr Maragall, he concluded: “We will be by your side to get to the bottom of this and to establish all the details.”