Espionage as political repression of Esquerra Republicana. Who has been spied on?

The Esquerra leaders targeted by Pegasus in the Catalangate scandal

The repression is ceaseless. On Monday we learned from a New Yorker report that some 70 pro-independence leaders have been spied upon with Pegasus software, a system that only states have access to. The Catalangate scandal is but another example of the persecution of Catalonia’s peaceful, democratic and legitimate independence movement.

Unfortunately, Esquerra Republicana has experienced a long history of repression. And this latest massive case of illegal espionage is just one more example of the repression by the Spanish state. In fact, many of the victims in the Catalan Gate scandal are members of Esquerra. At least 12 leaders and their staffs have been spied on by Pegasus. These are:

Pere Aragonès. The President of Catalonia’s Generalitat government and the National Coordinator of Esquerra, spied upon when he was Vice-President of the Government.

The President was the victim of espionage when he was the Generalitat Vice President between 2020 and 2021. During the period he was under surveillance, which has not been precisely determined, there were important talks being held with both the Spanish government—on the investiture of the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, on the negotiating table on the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain and on the relations between the two governments—and also with the pro-independence parties, negotiating on the investiture of President Aragonès and the formation of the present Generalitat government, for example.

Marta Rovira. Esquerra’s Secretary General in exile, spied on during 2020.

The Secretary General of Esquerra Republicana is also one of the victims of the Pegasus spyware. Following the October 1, 2017 independence referendum, she was charged with rebellion. Because of the lack of procedural guarantees of Spain’s Supreme Court, she decided to go into exile in Switzerland, where she now resides. The infections occurred in 2020, during which she held meetings there with international agents at the highest level.

Roger Torrent. Spied on when he was the Speaker of Parliament, the second-highest authority in the country.

Roger Torrent is the Minister of Business and Labour. During the attacks he was the Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia (2018-2021). He was targeted in 2019 during a meeting with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic. During the period of infection, the European and municipal elections were held. The case of Roger Torrent was little known at the time, and he described the experience of being spied on in his book, Pegasus.

  Espionage as political repression of Esquerra Republicana. Who has been spied on?

Josep Maria Jové. The chairman of the parliamentary group, awaiting trial on the independence referendum, targeted.

Josep Maria Jové is currently the leader of the Esquerra Republicana parliamentary group, and a member of the Parliament of Catalonia since 2018. He was the Secretary General of the Vice-Presidency, Economy and Finance, during the period Oriol Junqueras was Vice-President of Government. He is still awaiting trial on the October 1 referendum. He also presides the National Council of Esquerra Republicana. The period during which he was targeted included times where he played an important role as a negotiator for Esquerra Republicana in important political episodes both internally in Catalonia, for example in the negotiations with parties Junts per Catalunya and CUP to form the present Generalitat government, as well as with the Spanish government during the initial negotiating table to resolve the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain, of which he was a member.

Meritxell Serret. Spied on in exile, when she was the government delegate to the EU.

Meritxell Serret is the deputy spokesperson for the Esquerra Republicana group in the Parliament of Catalonia. She was the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (2016-2017) and the Delegate of the of the Generalitat government in Brussels (2018-2021). She was exiled in Belgium for more than three years and is now pending trial, as are some of the others targeted by Pegasus. Her Belgian phone was infected while the government delegate. During the period of the attacks, she not only held international meetings as the Government Delegate to the European Union but also kept in touch with other political exiles suffering Spain’s lawfare.

Diana Riba. The only spy MEP to be a member of the European Parliament.

Diana Riba has been an Esquerra Republicana MEP since 2019, and is in fact its spokesperson at the European Parliament. She is the spouse of former Minister and political prisoner Raül Romeva, a member of the Catalan Association for Civil Rights. Her phone was infected in 2019, during a meeting of the Permanent Committee of Esquerra Republicana, when she had already been elected a Member of the European Parliament. After a call with her advisor, he received a call in which Riba's recorded voice in that conversation was played back to him. She is the only active MEP spied on by Pegasus.

Ernest Maragall. Spied on when he won the municipal elections in Barcelona.

Ernest Maragall is the leader of the Esquerra group at Barcelona City Hall and a member of the Parliament of Catalonia. He has also been the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency (2018) and a Member of the European Parliament (2014-2016). His phone was infected during the 2019 municipal election campaign, for which he was a candidate to the mayorship and in which he turned out to be the winner.

Jordi Solé. Spied on just as Oriol Junqueras was denied his seat as an MEP.

Jordi Solé is an MEP for Esquerra Republicana. He is also the Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group at the European Parliament and Esquerra Republicana’s Secretary for International Affairs. He was targeted just before he became an MEP to replace Oriol Junqueras. The attacks therefore took place during the debates of Esquerra’s leadership on what should be the response to the suspension of Mr Junqueras' status as an MEP. Jordi’s case is one of the most significant in the New Yorker’s report as he learned that he had been targeted by Pegasus while being interviewed.

Sergi Sabrià. Spied on when he was the Chair of the parliamentary group and Deputy Secretary-General, Image and Communication.

Sergi Sabrià is the current Director of the Office of Strategy and Communication of the President and Government of Catalonia. He has also been a member of the Parliament of Catalonia (2012-2021) and a member of the Executive of Esquerra Republicana, for which he was the Deputy Secretary-General, Image and Communication. He suffered multiple hits from 2018 to 2020. The attacks (2018-2020) include the days following the 2018 elections to the Parliament of Catalonia; the days before the meeting of the first negotiating table; the announcements of the change of prison status of the political prisoners; and key moments of decision for the Spanish government.

Oriol Sagrera. Secretary-General for Business and Labour, spied on when he was Chief of Staff to the Speaker of Parliament

Oriol Sagrera is currently Secretary General of the Department of Business and Labour. During the attacks he was Chief of Staff to the Speaker of Parliament Roger Torrent (2018-2021). He suffered eight attacks in 2019, while meeting with journalists, politicians, visiting political prisoners and accompanying Parliament Speaker Roger Torrent.

Xavier Vendrell. A historic member of Esquerra, spied on during the king's visit to Barcelona

Xavier Vendrell is a member of Esquerra Republicana, and was a member of the party’s leadership from 1995 to 2011. He was also a member of the Parliament of Catalonia (1999-2010) and the Minister of the Interior (2006). His political activism is now out of the institutions. He was targeted during a visit by King Philip VI of Spain to Barcelona.

Andreu Van den Eynde. A lawyer for Esquerra, he was spied on in 2020

A criminal lawyer, he was the lead in the defence of the President of Esquerra Repubicana, Oriol Junqueras, and former Minister Raül Romeva in the October 1 independence referendum trial. He will also lead the defence of both Esquerra leaders before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He is also Esquerra Secretary General Marta Rovira’s lawyer. During the attacks in 2020, he held meetings on international legal strategy and penitentiary matters.