- "In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you're under arrest, Chancellor."
"Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"
"The Senate will decide your fate."
"I am the Senate."
"It's treason, then."
- ―Mace Windu and Palpatine
Treason was the crime of acting against a legitimately recognized government or an official of that government. The definition of treason varied based on the type of government. In an Imperial or dictatorial government, even merely speaking against the government or its policies could be considered treasonous behavior. Traitor was the formal term for an individual that had committed treason.
Though some governments treated all treason equally, others made a distinction between it and high treason, very serious treason that was almost always punished by death, even in non-Imperial governments. Such treason typically involved a direct betrayal or attack on a state official. In addition, at least in the case of the Empire, the charge of high treason generally necessitates that the one charged with the crime ends up punished in person by the state official in question, due to the seriousness of the charge.
In certain cases, a distinction was made between the crime of treason and that of sedition, the act of simply speaking against the established order, but not actually acting. In many cases, however, even simply speaking against the established government was described as "treason."
Under the Galactic RepublicEdit
- "The Council, approved your appointment because Palpatine trusts you. They want you to report on all his dealings. They have to know what he's up to."
"They want me to spy on the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic? Obi-Wan, that's treason!"
"We are at war, Anakin. The Council is sworn to uphold the principles of the Republic through any means necessary. We have to. Especially when the greatest enemy of those principles seems to be the Chancellor himself!"
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker discuss a mission that could well be considered treasonous.
As a group of Jedi Masters discussed the possible forcible removal of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from office, Obi-Wan Kenobi stated that such an action was treason and Mace Windu replied that he wasn't afraid of words and that the real treason would be failure to act.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi told Anakin Skywalker that the Jedi High Council agreed to his appointment as Palpatine's personal representative because they wanted him to spy on him, Skywalker described such an action as both a violation of the Jedi Code and treason, but Kenobi said it was not treason and might be the only way to save the Galactic Republic.
Later, Palpatine told Skywalker he was concerned the Jedi Order was plotting treason against him and to overthrow the government. Then, when trying to convince him to join the dark side of the Force, he told him "Turn your back on treason."
When the Jedi arrived to arrest him, he declared "It's treason, then," before engaging them in a lightsaber duel. Palpatine, while attempting to attack Mace Windu with Force lightning, then tried to claim that the Jedi Master was a traitor to the then-recently arrived Skywalker, while Windu likewise shot back that the Supreme Chancellor was in fact the actual traitor.
In 20 BBY, several members of the Jedi High Council believed that Padawan Ahsoka Tano had committed sedition against the Republic due to her being implicated in a terrorist bombing of the Jedi Temple, as well as the murder of several clones in an escape from the military base she was being held in, and expelled the young Togruta from the Jedi Order so she could be tried at a Republic military court. She very nearly avoided a conviction and possible death sentence before the real perpetrator was revealed. All charges against Tano, including sedition, were dropped, but the Council's lack of faith in her shook Tano to the core, and she left the Temple after refusing reinstatement.
Under the Galactic EmpireEdit
- "Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan."
"You are part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!"
- ―Darth Vader and Leia Organa
Although not always directly referred to as such, the Galactic Empire considered the very existence of the Rebel Alliance treason against it and vigorously pursued anyone involved with it as traitors.
In addition, the Senate, due to holding Senators sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance and/or possessing anti-Imperial sentiments was noted to have been "dangerously close" to treason via their puffery.
Raygar was an archaeologist who accidentally fired at Galactic Emperor Palpatine's personal shuttle. The unusual step was taken of charging him with high treason, of which he was convicted. Palpatine then carried out his punishment personally.
Journalists were often targeted by the Galactic Empire for committing treason for writing articles unfavorable to the Empire or its policies. Some of these later became members of the Erased. The penalty for treason under the Empire was often death.
Behind the scenesEdit
Much of the speech prosecuted by the Galactic Empire as "treason" is, in fact, what is traditionally considered by real-life courts as "sedition." The term "sedition" does appear with the Expanded Universe and the Galactic Empire, in fact, has a branch named Sedition, but the term appears far less frequently than "treason."
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Hidden Enemy"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Carnage of Krell"
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First appearance)
- The Last of the Jedi: Underworld
- The Hutt Gambit
- Star Wars: Ewoks—"Battle for the Sunstar"
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 33: Mandatory Retirement, Part 2
- Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ "Galaxywide NewsNets"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 4
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Inferno
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- ↑ Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- ↑ Star Wars: Ewoks—"Battle for the Sunstar"
- ↑ The Last of the Jedi: Underworld
- ↑ X-Wing Rogue Squadron 33: Mandatory Retirement, Part 2
- ↑ Sedition on Wikipedia
- ↑ Imperial Sourcebook