Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Indicted For Treason

Adam Yehiye Gadahn was indicted by a California Grand Jury for having committed treason against the United States. He is the fellow who has been producing propoganda films for al-Qaida, the story is here.

This is interesting not only as it is the first treason indictment since the second world war, but because, the U.S. law of treason is very much an Anglosphere phenomenon.

The U.S. restricts the crime of treason as follows “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.”

The whole definition comes from the English statute law. The first sentence is two of the possible forms of treason under the Treason Act of 1351 (25 Edw. III St. 5 c. 2). The second sentence which requires two witnesses comes from the Treason Act of 1695 (7 & 8 Will. III c. 3).