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Monday, 14 June 2021

Catalan politician suspects Spain tapped phone

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Catalan politician suspects Spain tapped phone
Catalan politician suspects Spain tapped phone

A leading Catalonian separatist politician says he believes the Spanish state spied on him using Pegasus software, which has been linked to political surveillance elsewhere.

Lucy Fielder reports.

The speaker of Catalonia's regional parliament suspects the Spanish state tapped his phone, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Confirming a report first published by the Guardian and El Pais.

The newspapers said Roger Torrent and two other separatist politicians were warned by researchers working with WhatsApp that their phones were broken into using a spyware called "Pegasus" made by Israel's NSO Group.

A spokesman for Torrent confirmed those details and said, quote, "Everything seems to show the Spanish state is behind this." And that he wasn't involved in a crime such as terrorism or drug-trafficking that might warrant it.

The prime minister's office said the Spanish government was "not aware" of any such spying on the three separatist leaders.

Tensions between Catalonia's separatist regional leaders and the central government in Madrid have been high for years, especially since a failed independence bid in 2017.

NSO, whose customers include law enforcement and governments around the world, declined to say whether it had sold its Pegasus spyware to Spain.

Pegasus has been linked to political surveillance in Mexico, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which researches digital surveillance.

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