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Treason is the
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in C ...
of attacking a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States * ''Our Sta ...
authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a
war War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using ...
against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplomats, or its
secret services A secret service is a government agency, intelligence agency, or the activities of a government agency, concerned with the gathering of intelligence data. The tasks and powers of a secret service can vary greatly from one country to another. For in ...
for a hostile and foreign power, or attempting to kill its
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a stateFoakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of statebeing an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international persona." in its unity and legitim ...
. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor. Historically, in
common law#REDIRECT common law#REDIRECT common law {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
countries, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant. Treason against the king was known as ''high treason'' and treason against a lesser superior was ''
petty treason Petty treason or petit treason was an offence under the common law of England in which a person killed or otherwise violated the authority of a social superior, other than the king. In England and Wales, petty treason ceased to be a distinct offenc ...
''. As jurisdictions around the world abolished petty treason, "treason" came to refer to what was historically known as high treason. At times, the term ''traitor'' has been used as a political
epithet An epithet (from el, ἐπίθετον, , neuter of , , "attributed, added") is a word or phrase, accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fict ...
, regardless of any verifiable treasonable action. In a
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or t ...
or
insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and ...
, the winners may deem the losers to be traitors. Likewise the term ''traitor'' is used in heated political discussiontypically as a
slur Slur may refer to: * Slur (music), a symbol in Western musical notation indicating notes to be played smoothly * Pejorative, a term with negative connotations used to disparage someone * Relaxed pronunciation, unclear or abnormal enunciation { ...
against
political dissidentsPolitical dissent is a dissatisfaction with or opposition to the policies of a governing body. Expressions of dissent may take forms from vocal disagreement to civil disobedience to the use of violence.Dolchstoßlegende upright=1.5, An 1847 painting by epic poem ''Nibelungenlied">Epic poetry">epic poem ''Nibelungenlied'' ("Song of the Nibelungs") – which was the basis for Richard Wagner's opera ''Götterdämmerung'': Hagen (legend), Hagen takes aim ...
'' (Stab-in-the-back myth), the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message.


History

In
English law English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures. Principal elements of English law Although the common law has, historically, been ...
, high treason was punishable by being
hanged, drawn and quartered To be hanged, drawn and quartered was, from 1352 after the Treason Act 1351, a statutory penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272). The convicted ...

hanged, drawn and quartered
(men) or
burnt at the stake Death by burning (also known as immolation) is an execution method involving combustion or exposure to extreme heat. It has a long history as a form of public capital punishment, and many societies have employed it as a punishment for and warni ...
(women), although beheading could be substituted by royal command (usually for royalty and nobility). Those penalties were abolished in 1814, 1790 and 1973 respectively. The penalty was used by later monarchs against people who could reasonably be called traitors. Many of them would now just be considered
dissident A dissident is a person who actively challenges an established political or religious system, doctrine, belief, policy, or institution. In a religious context, the word has been used since 18th century, and in the political sense since 1940, coincid ...
s.
Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * defend Christianity against objections and criticism * facilitate ...
and political thinking until after
the Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=no, La ...
considered treason and
blasphemy Blasphemy is an insult that shows contempt, disrespect, or lack of reverence concerning a deity, a sacred object, or something considered inviolable. Some religions consider blasphemy to be a religious crime.Kings were considered chosen by God, and to betray one's country was to do the work of Satan. The words "treason" and "traitor" are derived from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
''tradere'', "to deliver or hand over". Specifically, it is derived from the term "
Traditors Sculpture of Constantine I in York, England. Traditor, plural: ''traditores'' (Latin), is a term meaning "the one(s) who had handed over" and defined by Merriam-Webster as "one of the Christians giving up to the officers of the law the Scriptures, t ...
", which refers to
bishops A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian, Anglican, Old Catholic a ...
and other Christians who turned over
sacred scriptures Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for crea ...
or betrayed their fellow Christians to the under threat of persecution during the
Diocletianic Persecution The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights an ...
between AD 303 and 305. Originally, the crime of treason was conceived of as being committed against the
Monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in t ...
; a subject failing in his duty of loyalty to the Sovereign and acting against the Sovereign was deemed to be a traitor. Queens
Anne Boleyn Anne Boleyn (; 1501 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Their marriage, and her execution for treason and other charges by beheading, made her a key figure in the political and reli ...

Anne Boleyn
and
Catherine Howard Catherine Howard ( – 13 February 1542) was Queen of England from 1540 until 1541 as the fifth wife of Henry VIII. She was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper, cousin to Anne Boleyn (the second wife of Henry VIII), and niece ...
were executed for treason for adultery against
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his six marriages, and, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) annulled. His disag ...

Henry VIII
, although most historians regard the evidence against Anne Boleyn and her alleged lovers to be dubious. As asserted in the 18th Century trial of
Johann Friedrich Struensee Johann Friedrich, Greve Struensee (5 August 1737 – 28 April 1772) was a German physician, philosopher and statesman. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government. He rose in ...
in
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, da, Kongeriget Danmark, . See also: The unity of the Realm is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. Denmark proper, which is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, consists o ...
, a man having sexual relations with a Queen can be considered guilty not only of ordinary adultery but also of treason against her husband, the King. The
English Revolution The term "English Revolution" has been used to describe two different events in English history. The first to be so called—by Whig historians—was the Glorious Revolution of 1688, whereby James II was replaced by William III and Mary II as monar ...
in the 17th century and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
in the 18th introduced a radically different concept of loyalty and treason, under which Sovereignty resides with "The Nation" or "The People" - to whom also the Monarch has a duty of loyalty, and for failing which the Monarch, too, could be accused of treason.
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288– ...

Charles I
in England and
Louis XVI Louis XVI (Louis-Auguste; ; 23 August 175421 January 1793) was the last king of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as ''Citizen Louis Capet'' during the four months just before he was execute ...
in France were found guilty of such treason and duly executed. However, when Charles II was restored to his throne, he considered the revolutionaries who sentenced his father to death as having been traitors in the more traditional sense. In Medieval times, most treason cases were in the context of a Kingdom's internal politics. Though helping a foreign Monarch against one's own sovereign would also count as treason, such were only a minority among treason cases. Conversely, in modern times, "traitor" and "treason" are mainly used with reference to a person helping an enemy in time of war or conflict. Many nations' laws mention various types of treason. "Crimes Related to Insurrection" is the internal treason, and may include a
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state") or coup is the removal and seizure of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a political faction, the military, or a dictator. Many scholars co ...
. "Crimes Related to Foreign Aggression" is the treason of cooperating with foreign aggression positively regardless of the national inside and outside. "Crimes Related to Inducement of Foreign Aggression" is the crime of communicating with aliens secretly to cause foreign aggression or menace. Depending on the country,
conspiracy A conspiracy, also known as a plot, is a secret plan or agreement between persons (called conspirers or conspirators) for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as murder or treason, especially with political motivation, while keeping their agreem ...
is added to these.


In individual jurisdictions


Australia

In
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
, there are federal and state laws against treason, specifically in the states of
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state on the east coast of :Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Coral and Tasman Seas to the east. The Australian ...
,
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, a ...
and Victoria. Similarly to
Treason laws in the United StatesIn the United States, there are both federal and state laws prohibiting treason. Treason is defined on the federal level in Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution as: "levying War against he United States or in adhering to their Ene ...
, citizens of Australia owe allegiance to their
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'', meaning "above". The roles of a sovereign va ...
at the federal and state level. The federal law defining treason in Australia is provided under section 80.1 of the Criminal Code, contained in the schedule of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995. It defines treason as follows: A person is not guilty of treason under paragraphs (e), (f) or (h) if their assistance or intended assistance is purely humanitarian in nature. The maximum penalty for treason is
life imprisonment Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural lives or until pardoned, paroled or otherwise commuted to a fixed term. Crimes for which, i ...
. Section 80.1AC of the Act creates the related offence of treachery.


New South Wales

The
Treason Act 1351 The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of the Parliament of England which codified and curtailed the common law offence of treason. No new offences were created by the statute. It is one of the earliest English statutes still in force, although it has bee ...
, the
Treason Act 1795The Treason Act 1795 (sometimes also known as the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act) (36 Geo. 3 c. 7) was one of the Two Acts introduced by the British government in the wake of the stoning of King George III on his way to open Parlia ...
and the
Treason Act 1817 The Treason Act 1817 (57 Geo 3 c 6) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It made it high treason to assassinate the Prince Regent. It also made permanent the Treason Act 1795, which had been due to expire ...
form part of the law of
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state on the east coast of :Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Coral and Tasman Seas to the east. The Australian ...
. The
Treason Act 1795The Treason Act 1795 (sometimes also known as the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act) (36 Geo. 3 c. 7) was one of the Two Acts introduced by the British government in the wake of the stoning of King George III on his way to open Parlia ...
and the
Treason Act 1817 The Treason Act 1817 (57 Geo 3 c 6) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It made it high treason to assassinate the Prince Regent. It also made permanent the Treason Act 1795, which had been due to expire ...
have been repealed by Section 11 of the
Crimes Act 1900 The ''Crimes Act'' 1900,. is a New South Wales statute that sets out the majority of criminal offences for the state of New South Wales in Australia. Along with the Crimes Act 1914,. and the Federal Criminal Code Act 1995 (both federal), these three ...
, except in so far as they relate to the compassing, imagining, inventing, devising, or intending death or destruction, or any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maim, or wounding, imprisonment, or restraint of the person of the heirs and successors of
King George III of the United Kingdom George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
, and the expressing, uttering, or declaring of such compassings, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them. Section 12 of the
Crimes Act 1900 The ''Crimes Act'' 1900,. is a New South Wales statute that sets out the majority of criminal offences for the state of New South Wales in Australia. Along with the Crimes Act 1914,. and the Federal Criminal Code Act 1995 (both federal), these three ...
(NSW) creates an offence which is derived from section 3 of the
Treason Felony Act 1848 The Treason Felony Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c. 12) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Parts of the Act are still in force. It is a law which protects the Queen and the Crown. The offences in the Act wer ...
: Section 16 provides that nothing in Part 2 repeals or affects anything enacted by the
Treason Act 1351 The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of the Parliament of England which codified and curtailed the common law offence of treason. No new offences were created by the statute. It is one of the earliest English statutes still in force, although it has bee ...
(25 Edw.3 c. 2). This section reproduces section 6 of the
Treason Felony Act 1848 The Treason Felony Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c. 12) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Parts of the Act are still in force. It is a law which protects the Queen and the Crown. The offences in the Act wer ...
.


Victoria

The offence of treason was created by section 9A(1) of the
Crimes Act 1958 The Crimes Act 1958 is an Act of the Parliament of Victoria. The Act codified most common law crimes in the jurisdiction. References {{reflist 1958 in Australian law Australian criminal law Victoria (Australia) legislat ...
. It is punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


South Australia

In South Australia, treason is defined under Section 7 of the South Australia Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and punished under Section 10A. Any person convicted of treason against South Australia will receive a mandatory sentence of
life imprisonment Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural lives or until pardoned, paroled or otherwise commuted to a fixed term. Crimes for which, i ...
.


Brazil

According to
Brazilian law The law of Brazil is based on statutes and, partly and more recently, a mechanism called ''súmulas vinculantes''. It derives mainly from the civil law systems of European countries, particularly Portugal, the Napoleonic Code and the Germanic law. ...
, treason is the crime of disloyalty by a citizen to the Federal Republic of Brazil, applying to combatants of the Brazilian military forces. Treason during wartime is the only crime for which a person can be sentenced to death ''(see
capital punishment in BrazilCapital punishment is a long unused form of punishment in Brazil. Its last recorded use was in 1876. Although virtually abolished, it is still possible during wartime, according to the Article 5, XLVII, "a", of the Federal Constitution. Brazil is the ...
)''. The only military person in the history of Brazil to be convicted of treason was Carlos Lamarca, an army captain who deserted to become the leader of a communist-terrorist guerrilla against the Brazilian military dictatorship, military government.


Canada

Section 46 of the Criminal Code (Canada), Criminal Code has two degrees of treason, called "high treason" and "treason." However, both of these belong to the historical category of high treason, as opposed to
petty treason Petty treason or petit treason was an offence under the common law of England in which a person killed or otherwise violated the authority of a social superior, other than the king. In England and Wales, petty treason ceased to be a distinct offenc ...
which does not exist in Canadian law. Section 46 reads as follows:
High treason
(1) Every one commits high treason who, in Canada, :(a) kills or attempts to kill Her Majesty, or does her any bodily harm tending to death or destruction, maims or wounds her, or imprisons or restrains her; :(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or :(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are. Treason
(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada, :(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province; :(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada; :(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a); :(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or :(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act.
It is also illegal for a Canadian citizen or a person who owes allegiance to Her Majesty in right of Canada to do any of the above outside Canada. The penalty for high treason is life imprisonment. The penalty for treason is imprisonment up to a maximum of life, or up to 14 years for conduct under subsection (2)(b) or (e) in peacetime.


Finland

Law of Finland, Finnish law distinguishes between two types of treasonable offences: ''maanpetos'', treachery in war, and ''valtiopetos'', an attack against the constitutional order. The terms ''maanpetos'' and ''valtiopetos'' are unofficially translated as treason and high treason, respectively. Both are punishable by imprisonment, and if aggravated, by life imprisonment. ''Maanpetos'' (translates literally to ''betrayal of land'') consists in joining enemy armed forces, making war against Finland, or serving or collaborating with the enemy. ''Maanpetos'' proper can only be committed under conditions of war or the threat of war. Espionage, disclosure of a national secret, and certain other related offences are separately defined under the same rubric in the Finnish criminal code. ''Valtiopetos'' (translates literally to ''betrayal of state'') consists in using violence or the threat of violence, or unconstitutional means, to bring about the overthrow of the Finnish constitution or to overthrow the president, cabinet or parliament or to prevent them from performing their functions.


France

Article 411-1 of the Code pénal (France), French Penal Code defines treason as follows:
The acts defined by articles 411-2 to 411–11 constitute treason where they are committed by a French national or a soldier in the service of France, and constitute espionage where they are committed by any other person.
Article 411-2 prohibits "handing over troops belonging to the French Armed Forces, French armed forces, or all or part of the national territory, to a foreign power, to a foreign organisation or to an organisation under foreign control, or to their agents". It is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of Euro, €750,000. Generally parole is not available until 18 years of a life sentence have elapsed. Articles 411–3 to 411–10 define various other crimes of collaboration with the enemy, sabotage, and the like. These are punishable with imprisonment for between seven and 30 years. Article 411-11 make it a crime to incite any of the above crimes. Besides treason and espionage, there are many other crimes dealing with national security, insurrection, terrorism and so on. These are all to be found in Book IV of the code.


Germany

German law differentiates between two types of treason: "High treason" (''Hochverrat'') and "treason" (''Landesverrat''). High treason, as defined in Section 81 of the Law of Germany, German criminal code is defined as a violent attempt against the existence or the constitutional order of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany, carrying a penalty of life imprisonment or a fixed term of at least ten years. In less serious cases, the penalty is 1–10 years in prison. German criminal law also criminalises high treason against a States of Germany, German state. Preparation of either types of the crime is criminal and carries a penalty of up to five years. The other type of treason, ''Landesverrat'' is defined in Section 94. It is roughly equivalent to espionage; more precisely, it consists of betraying a secret either directly to a foreign power, or to anyone not allowed to know of it; in the latter case, treason is only committed if the aim of the crime was explicitly to damage the Federal Republic or to favor a foreign power. The crime carries a penalty of one to fifteen years in prison. However, in especially severe cases, life imprisonment or any term of at least of five years may be sentenced. As for many crimes with substantial threats of punishment active repentance is to be considered in mitigation under §83a StGB (Section 83a, Criminal Code). Notable cases involving ''Landesverrat'' are the Weltbühne trial during the Weimar Republic and the Spiegel scandal of 1962. On 30. July 2015, Public Prosecutor General (Germany), Germany's Public Prosecutor General Harald Range initiated criminal investigation proceedings against the German blog netzpolitik.org.


Hong Kong

Section 2 of the Crimes Ordinance, Crime Ordinance provides that levying war against the Government of the Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, conspiring to do so, instigating a foreigner to invade Hong Kong, or assisting any public enemy at war with the HKSAR Government, is treason, punishable with
life imprisonment Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural lives or until pardoned, paroled or otherwise commuted to a fixed term. Crimes for which, i ...
.


Ireland

Article 39 of the Constitution of Ireland (adopted in 1937) states:
treason shall consist only in levying war against the State, or assisting any State or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against the State, or attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by the Constitution, or taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt.
Following the enactment of the 1937 constitution, the Treason Act 1939 provided for imposition of the death penalty for treason. The Criminal Justice Act 1990 capital punishment in the Republic of Ireland#Abolition, abolished the death penalty, setting the punishment for treason at life imprisonment, with parole in not less than forty years. No person has been charged under the Treason Act. Irish republican legitimism, Irish republican legitimatists who refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the Republic of Ireland have been charged with lesser crimes under the Offences against the State Acts 1939–1998.


Italy

The Italy, Italian law defines various types of crimes that could be generally described as treason (''tradimento''), although they are so many and so precisely defined that no one of them is simply called ''tradimento'' in the text of ''Codice Penale'' (Italian Criminal Code). The treason-type crimes are grouped as "crimes against the personhood of the State" (''Crimini contro la personalità dello Stato'') in the Second Book, First Title, of the Criminal Code. Articles 241 to 274 detail crimes against the "international Legal personality, personhood of the State" such as "attempt against wholeness, independence and Secession, unity of the State" (art.241), "hostilities against a foreign State bringing the Italian State in danger of war" (art.244), "bribery of a citizen by a foreigner against the national interests" (art.246), and "political or military espionage" (art.257). Articles 276 to 292 detail crimes against the "domestic personhood of the State", ranging from "attempt on the President of Italy, President of the Republic" (art.271), "attempt with purposes of terrorism or of subversion" (art.280), "attempt against the Constitution of Italy, Constitution" (art.283), "armed Rebellion, insurrection against the power of the State" (art.284), and "
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or t ...
" (art.286). Further articles detail other crimes, especially those of conspiracy, such as "List of conspiracies (political), political conspiracy through association" (art.305), or "armed association: creating and participating" (art.306). The penalties for treason-type crimes before the abolition of the Kingdom of Italy, monarchy in 1948 included Capital punishment, death as maximum penalty and, for some crimes, as the only penalty possible. Nowadays the maximum penalty is
life imprisonment Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted people are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural lives or until pardoned, paroled or otherwise commuted to a fixed term. Crimes for which, i ...
(''ergastolo'').


Japan

Japan does not technically have a law of treason. Instead it has an offence against taking part in foreign aggression against the Japanese state (''gaikan zai''; literally "crime of foreign mischief"). The law applies equally to Japanese and non-Japanese people, while treason in other countries usually applies only to their own citizens. Technically there are two laws, one for the crime of inviting foreign mischief (Penal Code of Japan, Japan Criminal Code section 2 clause 81) and the other for supporting foreign mischief once a foreign force has invaded Japan. "Mischief" can be anything from invasion to espionage. Before World War II, Empire of Japan, Imperial Japan had a crime similar to the English crime of high treason (''Taigyaku zai''), which applied to anyone who harmed the Emperor of Japan, Japanese emperor or Imperial House of Japan, imperial family. This law was abolished by the Occupation of Japan, American occupation force after World War II. The application of "Crimes Related to Insurrection" to the Aum Shinrikyo cult of religious terrorism, religious terrorists was considered.


New Zealand

New Zealand has treason laws that are stipulated under the Crimes Act 1961. Section 73 of the Crimes Act reads as follows:
Every one owing allegiance to Elizabeth II of New Zealand, Her Majesty the Queen Monarchy in New Zealand, in right of New Zealand commits treason who, within or outside New Zealand,— :(a) Kills or wounds or does grievous bodily harm to Her Majesty the Queen, or imprisons or restrains her; or :(b) Levies war against New Zealand; or :(c) Assists an enemy at war with New Zealand, or any armed forces against which New Zealand forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between New Zealand and any other country; or :(d) Incites or assists any person with force to invade New Zealand; or :(e) Uses force for the purpose of overthrowing the New Zealand Government; or :(f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this section.
The penalty is Life imprisonment in New Zealand, life imprisonment, except for conspiracy, for which the maximum sentence is 14 years' imprisonment. Treason was the last Capital punishment in New Zealand, capital crime in Law of New Zealand, New Zealand law, with the death penalty not being revoked until 1989, years after it was abolished for murder. Very few people have been prosecuted for the act of treason in New Zealand and none have been prosecuted in recent years.


Norway

Article 85 of the Constitution of Norway states that "[a]ny person who obeys an order the purpose of which is to disturb the liberty and security of the Storting [Parliament] is thereby guilty of treason against the country."


Russia

Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Russia defines treason as "espionage, disclosure of state secrets, or any other assistance rendered to a foreign State, a foreign organization, or their representatives in hostile activities to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation, committed by a citizen of the Russian Federation." The sentence is imprisonment for 12 to 20 years. It is not a capital offence, even though murder and some aggravated forms of attempted murder are (although Russia currently has a moratorium on the Capital punishment in Russia, death penalty). Subsequent sections provide for further offences against state security, such as armed rebellion and forcible seizure of power.


South Korea

According to Article 87 of the Criminal Code of South Korea, "a person who creates a violence for the purpose of usurping the national territory or subverting the Constitution" can be found guilty of treason. The punishments for treason are as follows:
* "Ring Leader": death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment without prison labor for life. * "A person who participates in a plot, or commands, or engages in other essential activities": death, imprisonment for life, imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor, for not less than five years. * "A person who has committed acts of killing, wounding, destroying or plundering": death, imprisonment for life, imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor, for not less than five years. * "A person who merely responds to the agitation and follows the lead of another or merely joins in the violence": imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor for not more than five years.


Sweden

Sweden's treason laws have seen little application in modern times. The most recent case was in 2001. Four teenagers (their names were not reported) were convicted of treason after they assaulted Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf with a strawberry cream cake on 6 September that year. They were fined between 80 and 100 days' income.


Switzerland

There is no single crime of treason in Swiss law; instead, multiple criminal prohibitions apply. Article 265 of the Strafgesetzbuch (Switzerland), Swiss Criminal Code prohibits "high treason" (''Hochverrat/haute trahison'') as follows:
Whoever commits an act with the objective of violently
– changing the Swiss Federal Constitution, constitution of the Confederation or of a Swiss cantons, canton,
– removing the constitutional authorities of the state from office or making them unable to exercise their authority,
– separating Swiss territory from the Confederation or territory from a canton, shall be punished with imprisonment of no less than a year.
A separate crime is defined in article 267 as "diplomatic treason" (''Diplomatischer Landesverrat/Trahison diplomatique''):
1. Whoever makes known or accessible a secret, the preservation of which is required in the interest of the Confederation, to a foreign state or its agents, (...) shall be punished with imprisonment of no less than a year.
2. Whoever makes known or accessible a secret, the preservation of which is required in the interest of the Confederation, to the public, shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years or a monetary penalty.
In 1950, in the context of the Cold War, the following prohibition of "foreign enterprises against the security of Switzerland" was introduced as article 266bis:
1 Whoever, with the purpose of inciting or supporting foreign enterprises aimed against the security of Switzerland, enters into contact with a foreign state or with foreign parties or other foreign organizations or their agents, or makes or disseminates untrue or tendentious claims (''unwahre oder entstellende Behauptungen / informations inexactes ou tendancieuses''), shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years or a monetary penalty.
2 In grave cases the judge may pronounce a sentence of imprisonment of no less than a year.
The criminal code also prohibits, among other acts, the suppression or falsification of legal documents or evidence relevant to the international relations of Switzerland (art. 267, imprisonment of no less than a year) and attacks against the independence of Switzerland and incitement of a war against Switzerland (art. 266, up to life imprisonment). The Swiss military criminal code contains additional prohibitions under the general title of "treason", which also apply to civilians, or which in times of war civilians are also (or may by executive decision be made) subject to. These include espionage or transmission of secrets to a foreign power (art. 86); sabotage (art. 86a); "military treason", i.e., the disruption of activities of military significance (art. 87); acting as a franc-tireur (art. 88); disruption of military action by disseminating untrue information (art. 89); military service against Switzerland by Swiss nationals (art. 90); or giving aid to the enemy (art. 91). The penalties for these crimes vary, but include life imprisonment in some cases.


Turkey

Treason ''per se'' is not defined in the Turkish Penal Code. However, the law defines crimes which are traditionally included in the scope of treason, such as cooperating with the enemy during wartime. Treason is punishable by imprisonment up to life.


United Kingdom

The British law of treason is entirely statutory and has been so since the
Treason Act 1351 The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of the Parliament of England which codified and curtailed the common law offence of treason. No new offences were created by the statute. It is one of the earliest English statutes still in force, although it has bee ...
(25 Edw. 3 St. 5 c. 2). The Act is written in Anglo-Norman language, Norman French, but is more commonly cited in its English translation. The Treason Act 1351 has since been amended several times, and currently provides for four categories of treasonable offences, namely:
* "when a man doth compass or imagine the death of our lord the King, or of our lady his Queen or of their eldest son and heir"; (following the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 this is read to mean the eldest child and heir) * "if a man do violate the King's companion, or the King's eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife of the King's eldest son and heir"; (following the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 this is read to mean the eldest son if the heir) * "if a man do levy war against our lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King's enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere"; and * "if a man slea the Lord Chancellor, chancellor, treasurer, or the King's justices of the one bench or the other, justices in eyre, or justices of assise, and all other justices assigned to hear and determine, being in their places, doing their offices".
Another Act, the Treason Act 1702 (1 Anne stat. 2 c. 21), provides for a fifth category of treason, namely:
* "if any person or persons ... shall endeavour to deprive or hinder any person who shall be the next in succession to the crown ... from succeeding after the decease of her Majesty (whom God long preserve) to the imperial crown of this realm and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging".
By virtue of the Treason Act 1708, the law of treason in Scotland is the same as the law in England, save that in Scotland the slaying of the Senator of the College of Justice, Lords of Session and Senator of the College of Justice, Lords of Justiciary and counterfeiting the Great Seal of Scotland remain treason under sections 11 and 12 of the Treason Act 1708 respectively. Treason is a reserved and excepted matters, reserved matter about which the Scottish Parliament is prohibited from legislating. Two acts of the former Parliament of Ireland passed in Treason Act (Ireland) 1537, 1537 and Crown of Ireland Act 1542, 1542 create further treasons which apply in Northern Ireland. The Treason Act 1814, penalty for treason was changed from death to a maximum of imprisonment for life in 1998 under the Crime And Disorder Act. Before 1998, the death penalty was mandatory, subject to the pardon, royal prerogative of mercy. Since the abolition of the Capital punishment in the United Kingdom, death penalty for murder in 1965 an execution for treason was unlikely to have been carried out. Treason laws were used against Irish insurgents before Anglo-Irish Treaty, Irish independence. However, members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Provisional IRA and other Irish republicanism, militant republican groups were not prosecuted or executed for treason for levying war against the British government during the Troubles. They, along with members of Ulster Loyalism, loyalist paramilitary groups, were jailed for murder, violent crimes or terrorist offences. William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw") was the last person to be put to death for treason, in 1946. (On the following day Theodore Schurch was executed for Treachery Act 1940, treachery, a similar crime, and was the last man to be executed for a crime other than murder in the UK.) As to who can commit treason, it depends on the ancient notion of allegiance. As such, all British nationals (but not other Commonwealth citizens) owe allegiance to the Queen in right of the United Kingdom wherever they may be, as do Commonwealth citizens and aliens present in the United Kingdom at the time of the treasonable act (except diplomats and foreign invading forces), those who hold a British passport however obtained, and aliens who – having lived in Britain and gone abroad again – have left behind family and belongings.


International influence

The Treason Act 1695 enacted, among other things, a rule that treason could be proved only in a trial by the evidence of two witnesses to the same offence. Nearly one hundred years later this rule was incorporated into the Constitution of the United States, U.S. Constitution, which requires two witnesses to the same overt act. It also provided for a three-year time limit on bringing prosecutions for treason (except for assassinating the king), another rule which has been imitated in some common law countries. The Sedition Act 1661 made it treason to imprison, restrain or wound the king. Although this law was abolished in the United Kingdom in 1998, it still continues to apply in some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries.


United States

The offense of treason exists at both federal and state levels. The federal crime is defined in the Constitution as either levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies, and carries a sentence of death or imprisonment and fine. In the 1790s, Opposition (politics), opposition political parties were new and not fully accepted. Government leaders often considered their opponents to be traitors. Historian Ron Chernow reports that Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and President George Washington "regarded much of the criticism fired at their administration as disloyal, even treasonous, in nature." When an undeclared Quasi-War broke out with French First Republic, France in 1797–98, "Hamilton increasingly mistook dissent for treason and engaged in hyperbole." Furthermore, the Democratic-Republican Party, Jeffersonian opposition party behaved the same way. After 1801, with a peaceful transition in the political party in power, the rhetoric of "treason" against political opponents diminished.


Federal

To avoid the abuses of the English law, the scope of treason was specifically restricted in the United States Constitution. Article Three of the United States Constitution, Article III, section 3 reads as follows: The Constitution does not itself create the offense; it only restricts the definition (the first paragraph), permits the United States Congress to create the offense, and restricts any punishment for treason to only the convicted (the second paragraph). The crime is prohibited by legislation passed by United States Congress, Congress. Therefore, the United States Code at states: The requirement of testimony of two witnesses was inherited from the British Treason Act 1695. However, Congress has passed laws creating related offenses that punish conduct that undermines the government or the national security, such as sedition in the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, or espionage and sedition in the Espionage Act of 1917, which do not require the testimony of two witnesses and have a much broader definition than Article Three treason. Some of these laws are still in effect. The well-known spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, rather than treason.


Historical cases

In the United States, Benedict Arnold's name is considered synonymous with treason due to his collaboration with the British during the American Revolutionary War. This, however, occurred before the Constitution was written. Arnold became a general in the British Army, which protected him. Since the Constitution came into effect, there have been fewer than 40 federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions. Several men were convicted of treason in connection with the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion but were pardoned by President George Washington.


Burr trial

The most famous treason trial, that of Aaron Burr in 1807, resulted in acquittal. In 1807, on a charge of treason, Burr was brought to trial before the United States Circuit court, Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia. The only physical evidence presented to the grand jury was General James Wilkinson's so-called letter from Burr, which proposed the idea of stealing land in the Louisiana Purchase. The trial was presided over by Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, acting as a circuit judge. Since no witnesses testified, Burr was acquitted in spite of the full force of Jefferson's political influence thrown against him. Immediately afterward, Burr was tried on a misdemeanor charge and was again acquitted.


Civil War

During the American Civil War, treason trials were held in Indianapolis against Copperheads (politics), Copperheads for conspiring with the Confederate States of America, Confederacy against the United States. In addition to treason trials, the federal government passed new laws that allowed prosecutors to try people for the charge of disloyalty. Various legislation was passed, including the Conspiracies Act of July 31, 1861. Because the law defining treason in the constitution was so strict, new legislation was necessary to prosecute defiance of the government.Randall, J. G. Constitutional Problems under Lincoln. Urbana, University of Illinois Press. HeinOnline. Many of the people indicted on charges of conspiracy were not taken to trial, but instead were arrested and detained. In addition to the Conspiracies Act of July 31, 1861, in 1862, the federal government went further to redefine treason in the context of the civil war. The act that was passed is entitled ''"An Act to Suppress Insurrection; to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate the Property of Rebels, and for other purposes".'' It is colloquially referred to as the "second Confiscation Act". The act essentially lessened the punishment for treason.  Rather than have death as the only possible punishment for treason, the act made it possible to give individuals lesser sentences.


Reconstruction

After the Civil War the question was whether the United States government would make indictments for treason against leaders of the Confederate States of America, as many people demanded. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, President of the Confederate States, was indicted and held in prison for two years. The indictments were dropped on February 11, 1869, following the blanket amnesty noted below. When accepting Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, at Battle of Appomattox Court House, Appomattox Courthouse, in April 1865, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assured all Confederate soldiers and officers a blanket amnesty, provided they returned to their homes and refrained from any further acts of hostility, and subsequently other Union generals issued similar terms of amnesty when accepting Confederate surrenders. All Confederate officials received a blanket amnesty issued by President Andrew Johnson on Christmas Day, 1868.


World War II

In 1949 Iva Toguri D'Aquino was convicted of treason for wartime NHK, Radio Tokyo broadcasts (under the name of "Tokyo Rose") and sentenced to ten years, of which she served six. As a result of prosecution witnesses having lied under oath, she was pardoned in 1977. In 1952 Kawakita v. United States, Tomoya Kawakita, a Japanese Americans, Japanese-American Multiple citizenship, dual citizen was convicted of treason and sentenced to death for having worked as an interpreter at a Japanese POW camp and having mistreated American prisoners. He was recognized by a former prisoner at a department store in 1946 after having returned to the United States. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. He was released and deported in 1963.


Cold War and after

The Cold War saw frequent talk linking treason with support for Communist-led causes. The most memorable of these came from Senator Joseph McCarthy, who used rhetoric about the Democratic Party (United States), Democrats as guilty of "twenty years of treason". As chosen chair of the United States Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, McCarthy also investigated various government agencies for Soviet Union, Soviet spy rings; however, he acted as a political fact-finder rather than a criminal prosecutor. The Cold War period saw no prosecutions for explicit treason, but there were convictions and even executions for conspiracy (crime), conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, such as in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. On October 11, 2006, the United States government charged Adam Yahiye Gadahn for videos in which he appeared as a spokesman for al-Qaeda and threatened attacks on American soil. He was killed on January 19, 2015 in an Unmanned combat aerial vehicle, unmanned aircraft (drone) strike in Waziristan, Pakistan.


Treason against U.S. states

Most states have treason provisions in their constitutions or statutes similar to those in the U.S. Constitution. The Extradition Clause specifically defines treason as an extraditable offense. Thomas Jefferson in 1791 said that any Virginia official who cooperated with the federal First Bank of the United States, Bank of the United States proposed by Alexander Hamilton was guilty of "treason" against the state of Virginia and should be executed. The Bank opened and no one was prosecuted. Several persons have been prosecuted for treason on the state level. Thomas Dorr was convicted for treason against the state of Rhode Island for his part in the Dorr Rebellion, but was eventually granted amnesty. John Brown (abolitionist), John Brown was convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia for his part in the John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, raid on Harpers Ferry, and was hanged. The Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, was charged with treason against Missouri along with five others, at first in front of a state military court, but Smith was allowed to escape to Illinois after his case was transferred to a civilian court for trial on charges of treason and other crimes. Smith was then later imprisoned for trial on charges of treason against Illinois, but was murdered by a lynch mob while in jail awaiting trial.


Vietnam

The Constitution of Vietnam proclaims that treason is the most serious crime. It is further regulated in the country's 2015 Criminal Code with the 78th article: Also, according to the Law on Amnesty amended in November 2018, it is impossible for those convicted for treason to be granted amnesty.


Muslim-majority countries

Early in Islamic history, the only form of treason was seen as the attempt to overthrow a just government or waging war against the State. According to Islamic tradition, the prescribed punishment ranged from imprisonment to the severing of limbs and the death penalty depending on the severity of the crime. However, even in cases of treason the repentance of a person would have to be taken into account. Currently, the consensus among major Islamic schools is that Apostasy in Islam, apostasy (leaving Islam) is considered treason and that the penalty is death; this is supported not in the Quran but in hadith. This confusion between apostasy and treason almost certainly had its roots in the Ridda Wars, in which an army of rebel traitors led by the self-proclaimed prophet Musaylima attempted to destroy the caliphate of Abu Bakr. In the 19th and early 20th century, the Iranian Cleric Sheikh Fazlollah Noori opposed the Iranian Constitutional Revolution by inciting insurrection against them through issuing fatwas and publishing pamphlets arguing that democracy would bring vice to the country. The new government executed him for treason in 1909. In Malaysia, it is treason to commit offences against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's person, or to wage or attempt to wage war or abet the waging of war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri. All these offences are punishable by hanging, which derives from the English treason acts (as a former British colony, Malaysia's legal system is based on English
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).


Algeria

In Algeria, treason is defined as the following: * attempts to change the regime or actions aimed at incitement * destruction of territory, sabotage to public and economic utilities * participation in armed bands or ''in insurrectionary movements''


Bahrain

In Bahrain, plotting to topple the regime, collaborating with a foreign hostile country and threatening the life of the Emir are defined as treason and punishable by death. The State Security Law of 1974 was used to crush dissent that could be seen as treasonous, which was criticised for permitting severe human rights violations in accordance with Article One:


Palestine

In the areas controlled by the Palestinian National Authority, it is treason to give assistance to Israeli troops without the authorization of the Palestinian Authority or to sell land to Jews (irrespective of nationality) or non-Jewish Israeli citizenship law, Israeli citizens under the Palestinian Land Laws, as part of the PA's general policy of discouraging the expansion of Israeli settlements. Both crimes are capital offences subject to the death penalty, although the former provision has not often been enforced since the beginning of effective security cooperation between the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police, and Palestinian National Security Forces since the mid-2000s (decade) under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Likewise, in the Gaza Strip under the Hamas-led government, any sort of cooperation or assistance to Israeli security forces during military actions is also Capital punishment in the Gaza Strip, punishable by death.


Related offences

There are a number of other crimes against the state short of treason: * Apostasy in Islam, considered treason in Islamic belief * Compounding treason, dropping a prosecution for treason in exchange for money or money's worth * Defection, or leaving the country, regarded in some communist countries (especially during the Cold War) as disloyalty to the state * Espionage or spying * Lèse majesté, insulting a
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a stateFoakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of statebeing an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international persona." in its unity and legitim ...
and a crime in some countries * Misprision of treason, a crime consisting of the concealment of treason * Sedition, inciting civil unrest or insurrection, or undermining the government * Treachery (law), Treachery, attacking a state regardless of allegiance * Treason felony, a British offence tantamount to treason


See also

* Betrayal * Constructive treason * Law of majestas * List of people convicted of treason


Terms for traitors

*Hanjian *Jash (term) *Judas Iscariot, Judas *Malinchism *Mir Jafar *Quisling


References


Further reading

* Ben-Yehuda, Nachman, "Betrayals and Treason. Violations of trust and Loyalty." Westview Press, 2001, * Ó Longaigh, Seosamh, "Emergency Law in Independent Ireland, 1922–1948", Four Courts Press, Dublin 2006 * Philippe Buc, “Civil war and religion in Medieval Japan and Medieval Europe: War for the gods, emotions at death, and treason”, The Indian Economic and Social History Review 57:2 (2020), 1-27.


External links


British Treason Law

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Official site {{authority control Treason, Crimes Deception National security Political crimes