Madrid reportedly spied on separatists
According to research by The Citizen Lab think tank, the mobile phones of more than 60 Catalan separatists were tapped between 2017 and 2020. The Israeli spyware Pegasus was allegedly used, as reported in The New Yorker. The junior government partner Unidas Podemos is demanding that the Socialists, who have been in government since 2018, set up a parliamentary investigation. Who bears the responsibility here?
Investigation urgently needed
The Spain correspondent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Karin Janker, says the EU needs to establish a clear legal framework for the use of spyware by governments:
“If this framework is lacking, fundamental civil rights, which are always also rights of the individual to defend themselves against encroachments by the state, are in danger of being eroded. In this situation, Catalonia's regional president Pere Aragonès deserves credit for not pushing for compensation but rather objectively demanding that the Spanish government investigate the affair. This demand is legitimate. Clarification is crucial if the propagandists of the old image of Madrid as the enemy are not to gain new support.”
Governments were either involved or failed
El Periódico de Catalunya believes the Spanish state is responsible whether it ordered the spying or not:
“There are legal instruments that allow for the monitoring of suspected criminal behaviour - but political dissidence is not criminal. This means the judiciary must investigate whether the various governments were involved. ... And if they were, that's a bad thing, because it is illegal and illegitimate for a democratic government to spy on its opponents, no matter how much they challenge the political status quo. But it would be even worse if they were not involved. ... Because that would mean that the government is not in control of its authorities.”