The Spanish Government Studies the Use of the Mobile Phone’s Geolocation Data against Coronavirus

Spain’s Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, said earlier this week that the Spanish government is looking to use its citizens’ mobile phone geolocation data to control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (Covid-19).  

Campo said that there are other countries applying the same measures. “The Data Protection Agency tells us that there is no violation during a situation like this and it seems reasonable to us that when someone is positive and reluctant [to be confined] we establish some mechanism,” he said.  

In this sense, he referred to the possibility of forcing the isolation of individuals that have tested positive (for Covid-19) who do not want to isolate themselves. “The emergency state does not lower the rule of law and, in cases like this, they would ask the relevant departments to act,” he said in relation to the enablement of public facilities and hotels to isolate asymptomatic individuals.  

In any case, he also said that everything cannot be “homogenized” and the government considers the assumptions of the people who want to access these spaces “voluntarily” because they cannot do it elsewhere.  

Many organizations, political parties and citizens have raised concerns about what they think will be a tool that will be in force beyond the state of emergency. The Spanish government could use this tool against political dissenters, they warned.  

Ministry of Truth (1984)

Campo also vowed to review all legal instruments in order to penalize anyone who spreads false information and “contaminates public opinion.” The minister defended the citizens’ right to truthful information and said that it is even more important in an emergency situation when he believes that fake news can do “harm.” Thus the Spanish government would decide what can and cannot be published jeopardizing citizens’ freedom of expression and political dissent.

Essential Activities Not Affected by Lockdown in Catalonia

This is the list of activities not affected by the lockdown, as its publication in Spain’s official gazette shows and is summarized by ACN:

1. Shops selling food and drinks; medical, optical and orthopedic products (including pharmacies and doctors); hygiene products; hairdressers (if they work in the client’s home); newspapers and stationery; gas stations, tobacconists, technological and telecommunications equipment, pet food; business by internet, telephone or correspondence; dry cleaners and laundries

2. Those taking part in any step of the supply chain of basic products, including food, drinks, animal food, hygiene products, medicines, healthcare products, health technology, protection equipment and hospital material

3. Restaurants and hotel businesses, only food delivery

4. Supply of electricity, products derived from oil and natural gas

5. Essential infrastructures and companies and suppliers of basic services

6. Judges, prosecutors, justice public servants, who have to continue judicial cases not suspended

7. Services of basic public administrations to ensure public services work, including road works, services, supplies and security and maintenance of public buildings

8. People and cargo transport and those activities linked to guaranteeing this transport for journeys allowed under the state of alarm

9. Law enforcement, penitentiary institutions, maritime rescue, civil protection services, fire extinguishing services, the security of mines, road traffic and traffic safety

10. Armed forces

11. Private security

12. Health centers, services and shops, those dedicated to elderly people, minors, dependent people and disabled people’s care

13. People in research centers of projects related to covid-19

14. Funerary services

15. Animal health centers, services and shops

16. Sales of press

17. Public and private media outlets, including printing and distribution 

18. Financial, banking services and insurance

19. Telecommunications and audiovisual companies, and IT basic services, including those needed for the development of public services (also for servants working from home)

20. Essential services of protection and care of sexist violence victims

21. Lawyers, barrister, social graduates, translators, interprets and psychologists taking part in non-suspended judicial cases

22. Legal advisories, administrative consultancies, those of social graduates and prevention of occupational hazards in urgent matters

23. Workers of notaries and registers for the established basic services

24. Cleaning, maintenance services, urgent reparations and surveillance

25. Handling and picking of dangerous waste, urban waste, treatment of waste water, decontamination and removal of dead animals

26. Welcoming refugees and migrant centers

27. Supply of drinking water

28. Meteorological services

29. Universal posting service of the Spanish public operator

30. Import and supply of health material, including logistics companies, transport, storage, customs officers, and health corridors in general

Spain’s King Felipe VI Renounces his Inheritance from his Father in an Attempt to Save the Monarchy

On Monday, Spain’s King Felipe VI renounced his inheritance from his father and stripped the former King Juan Carlos of his £175,000-a-year royal income in order to save himself amid a growing social repulsion against the monarchy. The calls for his abdication following a finance scandal served as a catalyst for the new king to take drastic action.

Swiss prosecutors are investigating an offshore account allegedly operated for Felipe VI’s father Juan Carlos, 82, which is suspected to have received €88 million from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah in 2008. According to the newspaper La Tribune de Genève, prosecutors believe the fund could be linked to kickback payments after the former monarch helped to broker business deals with Saudi Arabia while still in power.

On Saturday, March 14, The Telegraph reported that Felipe was named as a beneficiary of an offshore fund that controls the Swiss account with an alleged 65 million euro gift ($72 million USD) from Saudi Arabia, given to his father when he was on the throne. In 2012, around $65 million (€57 million) was transferred from this account to Corinna Larsen, a Monaco-based businesswoman and ex-lover of Juan Carlos.

Larsen told the investigators in 2018 that the money was a donation from the former king after a recording emerged in which she allegedly claimed she was a frontwoman Liaison for his portfolio abroad for his assets abroad.

The reports also say that she will file a lawsuit against the former head of Spanish intelligence, Félix Sanz Roldán, for allegedly organizing an intimidation campaign against her continually, from 2012, when he learned of her relationship with the former king.

The Mossos Confirm that the Spanish Police Officer Shot at least Twice at Roger Español

The Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) has concluded that the rubber bullet that seriously injured Roger Español, who lost an eye, in Barcelona on October 1st, 2017, was the second shot by a Spanish police officer in that area. This report was presented before the judge at the case open by the Court of Instruction No. 7 of Barcelona and was ratified by the authors. The report also identifies the officer involved in the two shootings, which coincides with a private expert report commissioned by the defense of Español and the Iridia Center for the defense of human rights. Specifically, it was agent UC563.

According to judicial sources, the agents have explained to the judge that for the identification of the gunman in question they have made two analyses: one of clothing and other of traceability.

The dress analysis has identified the gunman who shot Español by several elements that differentiate him from his companions: he does not wear shin guards, has the ammunition bag open and wears gloves.

The recordings and photographs show two consecutive sequences: in the first you see the officer pointing at Español just as he is about to hit a flat object lying on the ground towards the police line. The Mossos say that the officer shot at him at this time, although they do not specify if it was only a projectile or a rubber bullet. After that, Español returned to the sidewalk.

In the second sequence, the identified gunman makes the same movement and disappears from view behind containers on the same sidewalk where Español is located. After several moves, he shoots for the second time. In this case, it was a rubber bullet that hit Español.  

The fact that Español was shot at more than once reinforces the thesis that this was not a random response, as the now-identified officer stated earlier this week in court. This would allow him to be tried at the felony of intentional injury and not recklessness.

Scandal: Carlos Vidal, a Member of the Spanish Electoral Authority (JEC) who Participated in the Vote to Disqualify the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, and MEP Oriol Junqueras, was a Member of PP Party Until a Few Weeks Before his Appointment

Carlos Vidal, one of the members of the Spanish Electoral Board (JEC) who voted to disqualify the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, and MEP Oriol Junqueras, was a member of the right-wing party PP until a few weeks before his appointment, InfoLibre informs.

When asked by InfoLibre, Vidal admits that he did not mention that he was a member of PP to members of the Congress because he no longer had a party membership. “Nothing should be mentioned,” he says. In addition, he says that he did not intend to abstain from voting on pro-independence politicians because he believes “there was no reason to do so.”

This information comes after the scandal of Andrés Betancor, another JEC member who worked as a C’s party advisor while also fulfilling his duties in the central electoral body. He participated in the exclusion of the candidature of Carles Puigdemont in the 2019 European elections and banned the nominations of exiled Catalan leaders Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.

President Quim Torra, who has filed a lawsuit agaisnt Andrés Betancor for prevarication and election crime, has also spoken on the news about Carlos Vidal and the PP party in a tweet: “Everyone has the right to have their cause heard equally and publicly and within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court …” Art 47. Letter of Fundamental Rights EU. PP members judging us. How far Europe is!”

Trial of Catalan Police Leadership During the 2017 Independence Referendum Week 1, January 20, 21, 22 and 23

The trial of the Catalan police leadership during the 2017 independence referendum begun on Monday in Spain’s National Court. Former Catalan police (Mossos) chief Trapero, the former police director Pere Soler and the former secretary-general of the Catalan interior ministry César Puig are charged with rebellion, whilst former Catalan police superintendent Teresa Laplana is charged with sedition.

Former Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Trapero defended his actions during the 2017 independence bid, as well as the actions of other members of the former Catalan police leadership. He denied any cooperation with the independence bid, or any “close relationship” with the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

Trapero affirmed that the Mossos (Catalan police) didn’t facilitate the referendum and instead applied criteria of proportionality in the actions to not cause greater damage. The former police chief assured that it was “impossible to stop 2.3 million” people who were holding the referendum. “There were not sufficient officers.”

Trapero also said that he offered himself to arrest Catalan president Puigdemont if it was necessary.

Intendant Teresa Laplana

On Wednesday, Teresa Lapana assured that she was “not responsible” for the police operation at the Economy Ministry on September 20, 2017. She affirmed that her task that day was to “transmit Spain’s Civil Guard’s requests to her superiors.”

Laplana: “When I arrived [at the Economy Ministry] there were already a lot of people: around 700 and the number was increasing. There were all kinds of people of all ages, including families, and the attitude was peaceful.”

Laplana also said that she only talked to the former leader of the Catalan civil society organization ANC, Jordi Sànchez, because former police chief Trapero asked her to speak with him about the “detainees’ entry and departure” and also to help the judicial commission leave the building later that same day.

Former director of the Catalan police Pere Soler

On Thursday, Pere Soler explained that all human, material and budgetary resources were used to comply with court orders regarding the referendum. “The number of officers was increased by 800. The whole body of Mossos was mobilized like never before. We made a huge sacrifice.” The former director of the Mossos emphasized that “it was a joint operation” with other Spanish police forces.

Soler dismissed follow-up of Spanish officers as “false.” He said he knew that chief Trapero was against the referendum. “He told me that there could be a public order incident and that he wanted to report it to Minister Joaquim Forn.”

Soler also assured that the former Interior Minister Forn never gave him “instructions for the Mossos to support the referendum.”

Former Secretary-General of Interior Cèsar Puig

On Thursday, Cèsar Puig affirmed that he had no jurisdiction related to the independence referendum. “I had nothing to contribute to strategic or operational issues in relation to the referendum. I was responsible solely for managing resources to comply with court orders.”

Cèsar Puig was named Secretary-General of Interior in 2015 and was dismissed in 2017 in accordance with Article 155 (Spain’s direct rule) in Catalonia. “My role with the referendum was zero. The Government wanted to hold an agreed referendum, but I had no competence in this regard,” emphasized the former Secretary-General.

On the referendum, Puig reiterated that there was a “joint” operation with the Civil Guard and the National Police. He also admitted that he knew that former police chief Trapero and the Mossos were against the referendum.

Jailed Catalan Leader Oriol Junqueras Prepares an Appeal to the General Court of the European Union (EGC)

The defense of jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras is preparing an appeal in the General Court of the European Union (EGC) against the decision of the European Parliament to exclude him as Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Precautionary measures will be required for the EGC to suspend the decision of David Sassoli, President of the Euro-Chamber, and the court will have to determine whether to accept it within a few hours after the appeal is presented.

The General Court of the European Union (EGC) is a constituent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It hears cases against institutions of the European Union by individuals and member states.

According to article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), any citizen can file an appeal against the acts of European institutions that directly affect him/her. The procedure for this appeal may take several months, but the precautionary measures will be pronounced immediately, a few hours after the petition has been registered. The EGC could accept or reject them. If they are accepted, the European Parliament will be obliged to recognize Junqueras as an MEP again.

The parallel route to the ECJ

In parallel with the appeal to the EGC, Junqueras’ defense will file an appeal against the Spanish Supreme Court’s decision to keep him in prison. If this move fails, Junqueras’ defense will appeal to the Spanish Constitutional Court for violation of his political and constitutional rights. The next and final step would be to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).