The director of the CNI, Esperanza Casteleiro, at her inauguration in July 2022.Chema Moya (EFE)
The Barcelona Court has relaunched the investigation into the Pegasus case, the alleged espionage of Catalan political leaders through an Israeli software program.
The court has overturned the decision of a judge to close the case without carrying out any investigative procedure and has ordered that, as requested by the presumed victims - the deputies of the Republican Left Josep Maria Jové and Diana Ribas - they be summoned to testify the president of the National Intelligence Center (CNI), Esperanza Casteleiro, to report on the "purchase and use" by the agency of the spyware and whether it was used on the mobiles of the two deputies.
Jové and Riba filed a complaint for the alleged spying on their mobile phones through the Pegasus program, which is marketed by the Israeli company NSO.
A Barcelona judge admitted the complaint for processing, but did not agree to any of the steps requested by the lawyers, considering them "useless" for the investigation.
Both appealed the decision and now the Third Section of the Barcelona Court has agreed with them.
The magistrates consider that it is "contradictory" and "inconsistent" to admit a complaint if there are indications of a crime and, instead, "deny the basic procedure of taking a statement" from the defendant, NSO.
The Prosecutor's Office had opposed this measure, considering that the Spanish courts are not competent.
The Court of Barcelona orders that the Israeli company be cited as a legal person as being investigated and that it request "information to the CNI on the purchase and use of the software" Pegasus in relation to Jové and Riba.
The director of the agency, Esperanza Cateleiro - who replaced Paz Esteban in office last May - will also be called to testify as a witness "to report on these aspects."
According to the resolution, this appearance must serve to prove whether, as the CNI has explained, the use of the software "has been done in accordance with the provisions of the law", that is, under the authorization of a magistrate of the Supreme Court and by a certain period of time.
Another of the measures agreed upon by the Court of Barcelona, and which was opposed by the plaintiffs, is that Jové and Riba hand over the attacked mobile phones in order to carry out an "analysis and a judicial expert report" on the alleged espionage.
The room assumes that it is possible that traces of espionage are no longer found on these mobiles given the "typology" of the Pegasus software and the time that has elapsed since they were attacked (2019), but maintains that they must be made available to the Central Unit of computer crimes of the Mossos or the one that the judge determines to be analyzed.
Likewise, the court summons the judge to take a statement from Jové and Riba as injured parties.
The Court also urges the investigator to resolve whether this case should be added to the one before the trial court number 32 of Barcelona on spying on the cell phones of the Minister of Business and Labor Roger Torrent and the Barcelona councilor Ernest Maragall, both from ERC.
The room considers that the accumulation would be "pertinent" to avoid the reiteration of "complex" investigative procedures, affecting on the one hand commercial entities based in other countries and, on the other, public institutions such as the CNI "
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