The investigation of espionage through the Pegasus program goes at two speeds. While the National Court has put the fifth gear to clarify who hacked the phone of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the Barcelona judge in charge of instructing the infiltration of politicians and pro-independence activists has not agreed to any of the dozens of proceedings requested by the spied on. And he has written that there is “no basis” to charge the Israeli company NSO Group, marketer of the malicious program.
This is how the head of Barcelona’s Investigation Court 32, José Antonio Cruz de Pablo, exposes it, in an order by which he refuses to create a macro-cause in Barcelona that groups all the complaints of the spied-on sovereignists, as the infected of Òmnium had requested. and the CUP. The instructor literally reproduces the arguments of the Prosecutor’s Office and disagrees with the responsibility that the spies attribute to NSO Group, since in his opinion there is “no factual or legal basis for their imputation.”
“It cannot be affirmed that we are facing facts attributable to the same subject or to concerted subjects,” concludes the judge, for which he refuses to join the complaints of those spied on by the CUP to the case that has been open since 2020 for espionage to the Republicans Roger Torrent and Ernest Maragall. It should be remembered that the same judge, who has hardly carried out investigative procedures to clarify the espionage of Torrent and Maragall, provisionally filed the case pending a response from Israel on the telephone data of the first two spies that are expected for over a year and a half.
Refusal to investigate the CNI
In his letter in which he refused to accumulate all the CUP complaint in the court that was investigating the hacking of Maragall and Torrent, the prosecutor for computer crimes Roberto Valverde rejected the attribution that the spies made of their hacking to the CNI. The prosecutor rules out that from the “political reactions” of the Government one can “infer” any responsibility of the CNI in the espionage of independentistas, since “there is no technically objectified element that allows the authorship of a person or private entity to be sustained, even indirectly.” ”.
All this despite the fact that the CNI itself has admitted in parliamentary headquarters to have spied (although without specifying whether through the Pegasus program) on 18 independentists, including several of the plaintiffs in Barcelona, such as the former vice president of Òmnium Marcel Mauri or the deputy of the CUP in the Parliament Carles Riera.
Thus, the lawsuits that the spies of the CUP, Òmnium and ERC filed at the beginning of May after the investigation of the Canadian forensic laboratory Citizen Lab have ended up distributed in a different court of instruction in the Catalan capital. The new cases have been opened in courts 21, 22 and 24.
The controversy over the competence of the judge of 1932 to take on the entire espionage investigation of the independentistas has meant that it has not yet been decided whether to remember the barrage of proceedings requested by the spies to clarify who illegally tapped their phones and, in addition to access all his data, he was able to activate the microphone and the camera.
In contrast, the hacking of the cell phones of President Sánchez and the Minister of Defense is being investigated more quickly. The case was opened by the National Court on the same dates, at the beginning of May, and several proceedings have already been carried out: at the end of May, a CNI official and Paz Esteban, former director of the center, testified as witnesses. In the coming days, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, will also testify. In addition, the judge of the special court, José Luís Calama, also extended the rogatory commission to Israel so that a judicial commission headed by him travels to Tel Aviv to take a witness statement from the general director of NSO Group.
Òmnium criticizes the judge
The refusal of the Barcelona judge to launch the investigation has provoked criticism from those spied on, who have criticized the double yardstick of Justice when it comes to instructing the Pegasus case depending on whether it affects state or pro-independence leaders. “While the National High Court has already launched an investigation into the causes of Pedro Sánchez and Margarita Robles, ours is still stuck in the courts and without a response”, lamented the president of Òmnium, Xavier Antich.
The defense of those spied on has already put their anger in writing to the Justice. “The difference that is occurring between the victims is unjustifiable. In our case, it is not that little is being investigated, it is that it is not being investigated directly and, therefore, the violation of the right to privacy continues to be maintained without any repair or protection, ”he explained in a letter addressed to the investigating court 22 the lawyer of those spied on by Òmnium and the CUP, Benet Salellas.
In his letter, in addition, the lawyer asks the new instructor to request to participate in the international rogatory commission of the National High Court that will travel to Israel to take a statement as a witness from the person in charge of NSO Group or to incorporate the result into the Barcelona cause of the proceedings carried out so far in the special court, including the testimony of the former director of the CNI Paz Esteban.