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A joint message from the leaders of the Catalan independence movement to Europe. Five high-level representatives gathered at the European Parliament today to give a press conference together. Dozens of media and public attended the meeting called by representatives of the three major pro-independence parties - Junts president Carles Puigdemont, ERC president Oriol Junqueras, and MP for the CUP, Carles Riera - in addition to the presidents of the major civil society groups the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, and Òmnium Cultural, Xavier Antich. All of this, after the largest-known case of cyberespionage has been uncovered: at least 65 people with links to the independence movement have been spied on via their mobile phones thanks to two spyware programs, principally Pegasus, and also Candiru.

The press conference was highly anticipated as it gave the pro-independence leaders the opportunity to present a joint response to this attack, a day after it was uncovered by the Canadian research centre the Citizen Lab. It was Carles Puigdemont who informed of the first steps that will be taken: the pro-independence movement plans to take the CatalanGate case to higher levels. "We are addressing the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and calling on her to act urgently so that Spain can be held accountable." The former Catalan president recalled that several MEPs (including himself) had been spied on while working in the European Parliament, so "the communication of the entire institution has been put at risk".


Carles Puigdemont: "What I expect of the Spanish state now is to be accountable... And we demand explanations from the representatives of the state, who have spent hundreds millions on this... In a case in Mexico, espionage against 18 people cost 250 million euros."

In this regard, Puigdemont warned that all the information available will be delivered to the European Council, and also to the United Nations. "We will lodge judicial complaints at various levels and in different countries for this mass espionage," he affirmed. The Junts party leader himself also situated the company that owns Pegasus, NSO Group, as an implicated party. "We will sue the Israeli company and its subsidiary in Luxembourg because they are clearly responsible," he said. He also took the opportunity to accuse the Spanish intelligence service, the CNI, stressing the importance of investigating the body. "In a democratic Europe there is no room for illegal espionage against dissidence."

Criminal complaints

The president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, informed reporters that the pro-independence organization she presides over will begin to take decisive steps next week. As five members of the organization have been spied on as part of the CatalanGate affair, the ANC will file "a criminal complaint for each of the five affected", with the accusations directed at the Spanish state security forces and secret service, since, as she recalled, only governments have access to the Pegasus program. This initiative will start next week, and Paluzie was cautious with the information she revealed. "This is one of the actions that will be taken. This is not the time to reveal details." In fact, she herself demanded that her colleagues ensure that the independence movement rises to respond to this challenge.

However, Puigdemont's lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, did give more information about this judicial offensive to the media. Boye explained that the intention of the pro-independence groups is that each of the 65 people so far known to be affected should file individual complaints, not a joint complaint, because that actions are, in fact, violations of individual rights. The lawyer also remarked that the legal complaints will have to be filed in each country in which they have traveled while their mobile phones were hacked. Boye, for example, believes that he will personally have to do this in five or six countries. Catalan independence supporters could end up, at the least, bringing cases to the courts of Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.