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Top Catalan politician accusing Spain of 'political spying' demands probe into claims

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By Euronews & AP
File photo: Roger Torrent, President of Catalonian Parliament, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
File photo: Roger Torrent, President of Catalonian Parliament, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg   -   Copyright  Jean-Francois Badias/AP
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The speaker of the Catalan regional parliament demanded that the Spanish government launch an official investigation on Tuesday after reports surfaced that his mobile phone was the target of "spying".

Roger Torrent has alleged that the espionage was carried out by Spanish security services.

A leading supporter of Catalonia’s independence campaign, he said the reports “prove what we already knew: that the Spanish state spies on its political opponents".

“It’s important for the truth to come out,” he said as he demanded an investigation in a televised statement.

According to an article published on Tuesday by El Pais and The Guardian, Torrent was warned last year that his phone had been targeted by spyware that its manufacturer says is only sold to governments and national security services

The newspapers, based in Spain and the UK respectively, cited a US lawsuit involving the spyware in their report, which they said exploited an earlier vulnerability in WhatsApp and could potentially provide access to everything on a person’s cell phone. They did not provide evidence that Torrent’s phone had been hacked.

The report also claimed a further two well-known pro-independence figures in Catalonia were also targeted.

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s office said in a statement that it was not aware the phones could have been hacked, adding that such action would need a judge’s authorisation.

Catalonia's independence efforts have long been a challenge for Spanish governments.