The phone of Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent and two other pro-independence activists was targeted using spyware that experts say is only sold to governments to track criminals and terrorists, as revealed by The Guardian and El País. The mobile phones of Anna Gabriel, a former CUP MP now in exile in Switzerland, and Jordi Domingo, a worker at the Tarragona Provincial Council and a member of the grassroots organisation ANC, were also attacked.

According to the joint investigation, the spyware exploited a vulnerability in Whatsapp software that would give potential access to everything on the targeted mobile phone, from emails and text messages to the camera and recorder—thus opening the possibility of turning the phone into a spying device.

A member of left-wing Esquerra (ERC) party and one of the most senior politicians in Catalonia, Torrent believes Spain is behind the attack and accuses the state of “dirty war” against its political opponents. “[These revelations] confirm the fears or ideas that we pro-independence campaigners had about the state being prepared to use all the mechanisms at its disposal to go after a legitimate political project,” Torrent told The Guardian and El País in a joint interview.

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