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Catalan politicians to sue Spain's former spy chief over alleged phone hack

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Roger Torrent attends a press conference at the Catalonia Parliament in Barcelona, March 2018
Roger Torrent attends a press conference at the Catalonia Parliament in Barcelona, March 2018   -   Copyright  Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Two Catalan separatist politicians have filed a lawsuit against the former head of Spain’s intelligence agency for allegedly trying to hack their mobile phones.

Roger Torrent, the speaker of Catalonia’s regional parliament, and Ernest Maragall, a member of Barcelona’s town council, filed the suit at a Barcelona court against former spy chief Félix Sanz Roldán on Thursday.

The two politicians have also launched proceedings against an Israeli technology company, NSO Group.

"We file this lawsuit to defend our rights and claim responsibilities," said Torrent on Twitter.

Earlier this month an investigation by newspapers El País and The Guardian reported that Torrent had been targeted by spyware that is only sold only to governments and national security services, according to its owner NSO Group.

The investigation suggested that spyware could exploit an earlier vulnerability in WhatsApp and potentially provide access to a phone's data.

But the reports provided no evidence that Torrent’s phone was hacked.

Spain’s intelligence service has declined to answer questions about the allegations.

The country's government said it was not aware that the phones might have been hacked and said that such an action would require judicial authority.

Several top leaders of the Catalonia separatist movement are currently serving prison sentences for their role in an illegal secession bid in 2017.