17th August 2019
Carles Puigdemont
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Catalan delegate in Germany sues Spain over spying allegations

Marie Kapretz, the Catalan government delegate in Germany, has filed a criminal complaint with the country’s federal prosecutor for alleged spying of her movements by the Spanish authorities.

German-born Kapretz, who was appointed to the post of delegate in 2016, alleges that ‘Spain’s secret service tracked her activities as a private citizen’.

The lawsuit refers to the period between November 2017 and July 2018, when Kapretz did not carry out her functions as a delegate due to the suspension of Catalonia’s home rule under Article 155.

ALSO READ: Spain seeks to close Catalan delegations in Berlin, London, Geneva

As proof, the complaint includes a Spanish state report detailing her movements on 7 April 2018, when former president Carles Puigdemont gave a press conference after a German court released him from custody at Neumünster prison.

It also refers to a report from the Spanish government’s court request to close three Catalan offices abroad, including the one in Berlin, which indicates that Kapretz had taken part in ‘press conferences, events, interviews and meetings with third parties’.

ALSO READ: Catalan government accuses Spain of spying on its offices abroad

Kapretz’s lawyers believe there is enough evidence to accuse Spain of infringing Article 99 of Germany’s criminal code, which forbids foreign secret services from carrying out ‘an intelligence action against the Federal Republic of Germany’.

With potential penalties that go from a fine to up to five years in prison, the German prosecutor will now study the case and decide whether to launch an investigation.

In July, the Spanish foreign ministry made a request to the high court in Catalonia, asking for permission to close down the Catalan government office in Berlin, along with those in London and Geneva.

The ministry alleged that the three offices were used ‘in the service of an unconstitutional secessionist project’, with the foreign minister, Josep Borrell, arguing that they were ‘clearly harmful to Spain’s interests’.

Yet, the court’s preliminary ruling, still to be confirmed, rejected the request for coming ‘too late’, as the Spanish government did not request similar closures in September 2018 when the process of reopening other Catalan delegations began.

Carles Puigdemont
Carles Puigdemont outside the Neumünster prison in Germany in April 2018 (ACN)

Also in July, media outlets printed allegations that the Spanish authorities had been spying on numerous Catalan foreign offices, and intercepting communications between the Catalan government and its delegations abroad.

Meanwhile, the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former minister Toni Comín sued Spain’s electoral authority (JEC) before the Supreme Court.

They claim their fundamental rights have been violated, and demand for the electoral body’s decision to disallow them to become MEPs to be overruled.

After they won their seats in the 26 May EU election, Spain did not let them take up their seats because they failed to attend a ceremony in Madrid to take their constitutional oath – they are in exile, risking to be arrested and imprisoned if they set a foot on Spanish soil.

ALSO READ: Thousands protest in Strasbourg about empty MEP seats

Yet their lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, attempted to take the oath of office on behalf of his clients with a power of attorney, but the electoral authority did not authorise it, and it is this decision the one challenged now by Puigdemont and Comín.

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