German MEP harshly criticizes Spanish handling of Pegasus spionage case

  • In her report, Cornelia Ernst states that the 65 known Pegasus victims are only 'the tip of the iceberg'

29.11.2022 - 11:34

Cornelia Ernst, MEP from the Left group and member of the civil liberties committee of the Eurochamber, has published a powerful report in which she denounces the management of the Pegasus spionage case by Spain. “The 65 known Pegasus victims are only the tip of the iceberg” states the document, written following an investigative mission in Madrid and Barcelona.

Ernst explains that, although the attacks have not been clearly attributed to anyone responsible, the mission has been able to verify that all the clues, as indicated by CitizenLab, point to the Spanish government: “It is clear that the Spanish state was simultaneously carrying out further repression against the people and organisations concerned with the Catalan independence movement. The victims were persecuted for political reasons”.

The text reminds that using the software is illegal, even with a court authorization. At the same time, it explains: “After CatalanGate became known, the head of the Services, Paz Esteban, was removed, but not due to surveillance against Catalans. Instead, it was for failing to prevent the service’s alleged espionage against the three members of the Spanish government.”

Francoist origin

Regarding the official secrets commission of the Spanish parliament, the MEP recalls that the body does not meet as frequently as in other European countries, and that the meetings – and their results – are carried out in secret. “The Spanish state apparently did not want to take responsibility for all the other surveillance measures against at least 47 other people, as identified by CitizenLab”. Ernst also recalls that the legal framework that regulates espionage and secrets in Spain is based on a law of Francoist origin.

The report concludes: “It is not only a person’s life and privacy that is probed with malware such as Pegasus or Candiru. The victims also see democracy in the European Union as a whole affected. They point out that particularly in Spain, not all state officials are part of a democratic tradition. These anti-democratic forces used mercenary spyware to intimidate political movements”.



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