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Who's your Benedict Arnold?
December 1, 2004 9:49 PM   Subscribe

What constitutes treason in your country?
posted by Cryptical Envelopment to Law & Government (21 answers total)
 
PART II
OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER

Treason and other Offences against the Queen's Authority and Person


(Condensed)

46. (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.

(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 in Canada to commit "an act with intent to alarm Her Majesty". Heh.
posted by loquax at 10:02 PM on December 1, 2004


United States Constitution
Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 10:11 PM on December 1, 2004


Voting against George W. Bush.
posted by hincandenza at 12:45 AM on December 2, 2004


New Zealand, Crimes Act 1961, s73:

73. Treason---Every one owing allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen 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 Government of New
Zealand; or
(f) Conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in this
section.


Luckily for you treasonous bastards, we abolished the death penalty, and the worst you can get is life imprisonment now.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:59 AM on December 2, 2004


France:
"LIVRE IV
Des crimes et délits contre la nation, l'Etat et la paix publique"
Here
(click the "Articles xxx-x" links)

"CODE DE JUSTICE MILITAIRE
Chapitre Ier : De la trahison et de l'espionnage en temps de guerre"
Here

No time to translate, sorry...
posted by XiBe at 5:05 AM on December 2, 2004


Finland (rough translation from Finnish, original available from www.finlex.fi)

Criminal Law ch. 12 (21.4.1995/578)
[there are other crimes under this section, including endangering the country's independence, advocating war, espionage, revealing official secrets, unlawful communication with an enemy, etc., but actual _treason_ is defined as follows]

Treason (s 3):

A Finnish citizen, that during or under the immediate threat of a war, armed conflict, or occupation involving Finland
1) joins the armed forces of an enemy;
2) takes part in acts of war or other military actions against Finland;
3) serves in military or civil duties for an enemy, helping their war efforts against Finland; or
4) collaborates with the enemy or in another similar fashion, to the enemy's benefit, harms Finland,

shall be imprisoned for treason for the minimum term of one year and the maximum term of ten years.

For treason, also an alien will be convicted, if he commits an act referred to in 4) while residing in Finland or whilst employed by the state.

An attempt to commit treason is also a crime.

4) does not apply to actions during occupation necessary to guarantee the survival of the population.

High treason (s. 4)

If in treason
1) a danger is caused for the state, or a part of the state, to fall under foreign rule or
2) otherwise great damage is caused to Finland
and the act itself is can be considered high treason, judged as a whole, the wrongdoer must be imprisoned for at least four years or for life.
posted by keijo at 5:06 AM on December 2, 2004


Hassling the Queen.

PART II
OFFENCES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER

Treason and other Offences against the Queen's Authority and Person

High treason

46. (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;
posted by Capn at 7:46 AM on December 2, 2004


It's a secret.
posted by LarryC at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2004


In my country, treason constitutes YOU!

Sorry, I should have resisted, but couldn't...
posted by spaghetti at 8:44 AM on December 2, 2004


Germany:

§ 96
Landesverräterische Ausspähung, Auskundschaften von Staatsgeheimnissen
(1) Wer sich ein Staatsgeheimnis verschafft, um es zu verraten (§ 94), wird mit Freiheitsstrafe von einem Jahr bis zu zehn Jahren bestraft.

(2) Wer sich ein Staatsgeheimnis, das von einer amtlichen Stelle oder auf deren Veranlassung geheimgehalten wird, verschafft, um es zu offenbaren (§ 95), wird mit Freiheitsstrafe von sechs Monaten bis zu fünf Jahren bestraft. Der Versuch ist strafbar.

-----------

(hasty translation)

(1) Whoever takes state secrets in order to reveal them, will serve a sentence between one and ten years.

2) Whoever takes state secrets from an official source, or openly reveals something designated as a secret, will serve a sentence of six months to five years. The attempt to do so is also punishable.
posted by Ljubljana at 8:46 AM on December 2, 2004


as far as i can find, treason (traición) is defined only in the military code of chile (see under "Titulo II"). however, that text refers to articles in other parts of chilean law, such as articles 106 to 110 of the penal code.

so it appears that treason itself is only a military crime (ie applies only to soldiers) but that the same rules (just not called "treason") apply to civilians. maybe the word doesn't have quite the same conotation in spanish?

the articles themselves are pretty lengthy, so i won't translate them all, but they include:

106 - conspiring from within the republic to induce an external party to declare war
107 - fighting against the country under the enemy's flag
108 - taking arms against chile without external authorization (?! is this a catch-all for terrorists?)
109 - detailed list of things you can't do to help the enemy.
110 - the same against our allies

the punishment is a phrase i don't understand completely, but seems to be along the lines of lifetime imprisonment or, in times of war, possibly death.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:14 AM on December 2, 2004


Slovenia:

Veleizdaja 348. clen

Kdor s silo ali z grožnjo, da bo uporabil silo, grozi obstoj Republike Slovenije, ali tako poskuša spremeniti njeno ustavno ureditev, ali strmoglaviti najvišje državne organe, se kaznuje z zaporom od enega do desetih let.

Izdaja državne tajnosti 359. clen

(1) Kdor v nasprotju s svojimi dolžnostmi varovanja državne tajnosti sporoci ali izroci komu podatke ali
dokumente, ki so državna tajnost, ali mu kako drugace omogoci, da pride do njih, ali zbira takšne podatke z namenom, da jih izroci nepoklicani osebi, se kaznuje z zaporom od enega do osmih let.

-----------

(hasty translation)

348. High Treason. Whoever uses force or threat of force to overthrow the Republic of Slovenia, or in this manner tries to change laws, or wants to overthrow the government, will be sentenced to a prison term of one to 10 years.

359. Treason. Whoever goes against their duties to protect state secrets, reveals documents or things that are state secrets, and reveals these things to an inappropriate person, or allows these secrets to be revealed to them, will be sentenced to a prison term of one to eight years.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:25 AM on December 2, 2004


Not that it's my country, but in the UK it is treason to put a postage stamp on upside down.
posted by quiet at 12:09 PM on December 2, 2004


Dissent.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:26 PM on December 2, 2004


Interesting to see that the US has the narrowest definition of treason so far. It's the only crime defined in the United States Constitution, and it has extra procedural protections (2 witnesses, testifying about the same overt act), precisely because the Founders were worried that treason charges would be used for political purposes. Not even John Walker Lindh was charged with treason, because it's such a difficult case to make.
posted by insideout at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2004


Andrew, it says "de presidio mayor... a presidio perpetuo" which seems to mean a punishment ranging from long imprisonment to a life sentence.

That's a guess since Korean is slowly displacing Spanish in my mind (and NSAC).
posted by Octaviuz at 4:21 PM on December 2, 2004


gracias! ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:24 PM on December 2, 2004


yes, insideout - i was impressed by that too. on the other hand, i think LarryC was probably making a serious point (unlike JKF or hincadenza).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2004


Well, I was being serious to a point. Dissent can get you labeled a traitor, and accused of Treason, quite easily, in modern day America.

No, it doesn't add up to the legal definition by any stretch, but from a certain point of view </obi-wan>, it does answer the original question.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:50 PM on December 2, 2004


England:

Statute the Fifth 1351
Chapter 2: Declaration what offences shall be adjudged treason

Item, whereas divers opinions have not been before this time in what case treason shall be said, and in what not; the King, at the request of the lords and of the commons, hath made a declaration in the manner as hereafter followeth, that is to say; 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; or if a man do violate the King’s companion, or the King’s eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife the King’s eldest son and heir; or 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 thereof be probably attained of open deed by the people of their condition: . . . and if a man slea the 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: it is to be understood, that in cases above rehearsed, that ought to be judged treason which extends to our lord the King, and his royal majesty.

Helpful huh?

To paraphrase Halsbury's Laws' take on things killing the sovereign, declaring war on the realm or helpnig those who do, fucking with the succession and killing the top of the Governmental food chain (although interestingly not the Prime Minister it seems) will all do it...
posted by dmt at 6:54 PM on December 2, 2004


I don't mean to say that the fact treason is such a difficult crime to prosecute under the US constitution means that in practice, the US is more protective of civil liberties than other countries. What it does suggest is that there's a good constitutional argument that the Founders thought the Executive branch should be especially closely monitored by the Judicial branch when it comes to such potentially abusive charges like treason. Which is, of course, counter to the Bush Admin's theory on the balance of power during wartime.
posted by insideout at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2004


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