Almost two months after filing a judicial complaint for espionage with Pegasus software, Òmnium Cultural has received a response. The judge of Barcelona investigating court 21 has partially admitted the complaint for interference with the mobile phones of the cultural organization's then vice-president Marcel Mauri, international area head Elena Jiménez and journalist Meritxell Bonet, who is also wife of the then-president, Jordi Cuixart. Judge Ignacio Sánchez, following the prosecutor's criteria, has agreed to investigate the alleged offences of violation of privacy and secrecy of communications reported to determine their authorship, but rules out investigating the company NSO Group, which owns Pegasus, considering that it has no jurisdiction because the firm has its headquarters in Israel. He also claims that he "has no legal basis" for accusing the Spanish state agencies of perpetrating espionage. Òmnium has already said that through its lawyer, Benet Salellas, it will file an appeal against the parts of the complaint that were not admitted.
In the resolution, announced this Monday evening by Òmnium, the judge agreed on the three plaintiffs bringing their mobile phones to court for an analysis to be made of the attack suffered, as already certified by the CitizenLab group as part of the Catalangate investigation, which found about 65 people affected close to the independence movement to have been affected. The judge also approved an expert report to be made on the terminals analyzing them in order to ascertain the existence of possible indications of the reported facts that could be relevant to identifying the perpetrators. And with regard to the claim that Marcel Mauri's mobile phone was attacked with the Pegasus program at least 19 times between 2018 and 2020, it asks Òmnium to provide the expert report certifying that - that being, again, the report made by the research group attached to the University of Toronto. Similarly, the court demands the reports on the hacking suffered by Jiménez and Bonet's mobile phones since April 2019.
Òmnium sent a tweet announcing the partial admission of the complaint:
❗️ Ha estat admesa a tràmit la primera querella pel #CatalanGate. El jutge investigarà l’espionatge il·legal de l’Estat espanyol contra @omnium— Òmnium Cultural (@omnium) June 27, 2022
No defallirem en la defensa als atacs a les llibertats individuals i col·lectives de l'Estat espanyol
"The first #CatalanGate complaint has been accepted for legal processing. The judge will investigate the illegal espionage of the Spanish state against @omnium. We will not give up in defending attacks against individual and collective freedoms in Spain" - Òmnium Cultural