A SPANISH Supreme Court judge has charged 13 Catalan politicians, including former regional president Carles Puigdemont, with rebellion for their attempt to declare independence from Spain.

Judge Pablo Llarena’s indictment wrapped up the investigation into the events that six months ago plunged Spain into its deepest political crisis in decades. Rebellion charges are punishable with up to 30 years in prison under Spanish law.

He also ordered that five leaders of the pro-independence movement be detained without bail as they await their trials.

Former Catalan cabinet minister Jordi Turull was one of those jailed. He was unsuccessful in his bid to be elected as Catalonia’s new president on Thursday.

In a court ruling issued yesterday, Judge Llarena said that 25 Catalans in total will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience. They deny the allegations.

Others charged with rebellion were former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, who is already in pre-trial detention; seven other members of the ousted Catalan government; former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell; jailed activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart; and the leader of the left-republican ERC party, Marta Rovira, who defied the judge’s summons and announced yesterday that she was fleeing Spain.

In a letter addressed to her party followers and posted on ERC’s website, Rovira did not say whether she had left Spain already or where she might go.

“Today I undertake a hard road, a path that, unfortunately, so many others that preceded us have had to take,” Rovira wrote, adding: “The path of exile.”

Five other Catalan politicians, including Puigdemont, fled to Brussels following the bid for independence in late October. An anti-establishment party’s former politician, Anna Gabriel, fled to Switzerland earlier this year.

The unity of Spain is enshrined in the constitution, which says the country is “indivisible”, and courts have blocked Catalonia’s independence efforts at every turn.

It would not be allowed without a reform of the top law.

Twelve of the former regional ministers are also charged with misuse of public funds. Seven other politicians are charged with disobedience.

The judge also required the 14 former members of the Catalan cabinet to pay €2.1 million as a deposit before the trial establishes whether they need to pay back “misused public funds”.

That figure includes €1.6 million that, according to the judicial investigation, were used to pay for the October 1 referendum that saw Catalonia vote for independence.

Puigdemont indicated his resolve was not shaken by the charges.

“Let’s see what happens tomorrow, what happens today. Every day things change,” Puigdemont said in Helsinki, where he was on a visit.

He also aimed criticism at the judge’s decision, suggesting Judge Llarena was influenced by the political climate.

“It is not right for a judge to do politics,” Puigdemont said.