Sedition

Sedition

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In law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization
Organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion
Subversion (politics)
Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order, its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy; examples of such structures include the State. In this context, a "subversive" is sometimes called a "traitor" with respect to the government in-power. A subversive is...

 of a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 and incitement
Incitement
In English criminal law, incitement was an anticipatory common law offence and was the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a crime....

 of discontent (or resistance
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt act
Overt Act
In criminal law, an overt act , an open act, one that can be clearly proved by evidence, and from which criminal intent can be inferred, as opposed to a mere intention in the mind to commit a crime...

s that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

.

The difference between sedition and treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

. Sedition does not consist of levying war against a government nor of adhering to its enemies, giving enemies aid, and giving enemies comfort. Nor does it consist, in most representative democracies
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, of peaceful protest
Protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

 against a government, nor of attempting to change the government by democratic means (such as direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 or constitutional convention
Constitutional convention (political meeting)
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution...

).

Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or state, giving aid to enemies, or levying war against one's state. Sedition is encouraging one's fellow citizens to rebel against their state, whereas treason is actually betraying one's country by aiding and abetting another state. Sedition laws somewhat equate to terrorism
Anti-terrorism legislation
Anti-terrorism legislation designs various types of laws passed in the aim of fighting terrorism. They usually, if not always, follow specific bombings or assassinations...

 and public order laws
Public order crime
In criminology, public-order crime is defined by Siegel as "...crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently", i.e. it is behaviour that has been labelled criminal because it is contrary to shared norms, social values, and...

.

History in common law jurisdictions


The term sedition in its modern meaning first appeared in the Elizabethan Era
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

 (c. 1590) as the "notion of inciting by words or writings disaffection towards the state or constituted authority". "Sedition complements treason and martial law: while treason controls primarily the privileged, ecclesiastical opponents, priests, and Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

, as well as certain commoners; and martial law frightens commoners, sedition frightens intellectuals."

United Kingdom


Sedition was a common law offence in the UK. James Fitzjames Stephen
James Fitzjames Stephen
Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, 1st Baronet was an English lawyer, judge and writer. He was created 1st Baronet Stephen by Queen Victoria.-Early life:...

's "Digest of the Criminal Law" stated that "a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt, or to exite disaffection against the person of His Majesty, his heirs or successors, or the government and constitution of the United Kingdom, as by law established, or either House of Parliament, or the administration of justice, or to excite His Majesty's subjects to attempt otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established, or to incite any person to commit any crime in disturbance of the peace, or to raise discontent or disaffection amongst His Majesty's subjects, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such subjects.

An intention to show that His Majesty has been misled or mistaken in his measures, or to point out errors or defects in the government or constitution as by law established , with a view to their reformation, or to excite His Majesty's subjects to attempt by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established , or to point out, in order to secure their removal, matters which are producing, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of hatred and ill-will between classes of His Majesty's subjects, is not a seditious intention."

Stephen in his "History of the Criminal Law of England" accepted the view that a seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

 was nothing short of a direct incitement to disorder and violence. He stated that the modern view of the law was plainly and fully set out by Littledale J. in Collins. In that case the jury were instructed that they could convict of seditios libel only if they were satisfied that the defendant "meant that the people should make use of physical
force as their own resource to obtain justice, and meant to
excite the people to take the power in to their own hands, and meant to excite them to tumult and disorder."

The last prosecution for sedition in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 was in 1972, when three people were charged with seditious conspiracy and uttering seditious words for attempting to recruit people to travel to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 to fight in support of Republicans. The seditious conspiracy charge was dropped, but the men received suspended sentences for uttering seditious words and for offences against the Public Order Act
Public Order Act
Public Order Act is a stock short title used for legislation in Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom, relating to public order offences.-Rhodesia:...

.

In 1977, a Law Commission
Law Commission (England and Wales)
In England and Wales the Law Commission is an independent body set up by Parliament by the Law Commissions Act 1965 in 1965 to keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reforms. The organisation is headed by a Chairman and four Law Commissioners...

 working paper
Working paper
A working paper or work paper or workpaper may refer to:*A preliminary scientific or technical paper. Often, authors will release working papers to share ideas about a topic or to elicit feedback before submitting to a peer reviewed conference or academic journal.* Sometimes the term working paper...

 recommended that the common law offence of sedition in England and Wales be abolished. They said that they thought that this offence was redundant and that it was not necessary to have any offence of sedition. However this proposal was not implemented until 2009, when sedition and seditious libel (as common law offences) were abolished by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009
Coroners and Justice Act 2009
-External links:*, as amended from the National Archives.*, as originally enacted from the National Archives.* to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009....

 (with effect on 12 January 2010). Sedition by an alien
Alien (law)
In law, an alien is a person in a country who is not a citizen of that country.-Categorization:Types of "alien" persons are:*An alien who is legally permitted to remain in a country which is foreign to him or her. On specified terms, this kind of alien may be called a legal alien of that country...

 is still an offence under section 3 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919.

In Scotland, section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 abolished the common law offences of sedition and leasing-making
Lèse majesté
Lese-majesty is the crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state.This behavior was first classified as a criminal offence against the dignity of the Roman republic in Ancient Rome...

 with effect from 28 March 2011 .

India


Sedition law in India is a legacy of the colonial era. While the United Kingdom abolished sedition laws in 2010, sedition became a big issue in India the same year as noted writer Arundhati Roy, amongst others, were sought to be charged with sedition for advocating independence for the disputed Kashmir region. This is by no means the only instance of sedition laws being used in contemporary India. Many human rights activists have found themselves charged with sedition.

Binayak Sen MBBS, MD; is an Indian pediatrician, public health specialist and activist was found guilty of sedition. He is the national Vice-President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).On 24 December 2010, the Additional Sessions and District Court Judge B.P Varma Raipur found Binayak Sen, Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha, guilty of sedition for helping the Maoists in their fight against the state.They were sentenced to life imprisonment.However he got bail in Supreme court on 16 April 2011.

Australia



Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's sedition laws were amended in anti-terrorism legislation
Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005
The Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 is legislation intended to hamper the activities of any potential terrorists in Australia. It was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on 6 December 2005.- Chronology :...

 passed on 6 December 2005, updating definitions and increasing penalties.

In late 2006, the Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 government proposed plans to amend Australia's Crimes Act 1914
Australian criminal law
The criminal law of Australia generally administered by individual jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Australia. These jurisdictions include the six states, the Commonwealth, and the self-governing territories...

, introducing laws that mean artists and writers may be jailed for up to seven years if their work was considered seditious or inspired sedition either deliberately or accidentally. Opponents of these laws have suggested that they could be used against legitimate dissent.
In 2006, the then Australian attorney-general Philip Ruddock had rejected calls by two reports — from a Senate
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 committee and the Australian Law Reform Commission
Australian Law Reform Commission
The Australian Law Reform Commission is an Australian independent statutory body established to conduct reviews into the law of Australia and advocate options for law reform...

 — to limit the sedition provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005
Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005
The Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 is legislation intended to hamper the activities of any potential terrorists in Australia. It was passed by the Commonwealth Parliament on 6 December 2005.- Chronology :...

 by requiring proof of intention to cause disaffection or violence. He had also brushed aside recommendations to curtail new clauses outlawing “urging conduct” that “assists” an “organisation or country engaged in armed hostilities” against the Australian military.

The new laws, inserted into the legislation December 2005, allow for the criminalization of basic expressions of political opposition, including supporting resistance to Australian military interventions, such as those in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and the Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean...

 region.


These laws were amended in Australia on the 19-09-2011. The ‘sedition’ clauses was repealed and replaced with ‘urging violence’. http://www.visualarts.net.au/newsdesk/2011/09/sedition-deleted-in-national-security-legislation-amendment-act

Canada


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 former Mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 Camillien Houde
Camillien Houde
Camillien Houde was a Quebec politician, a Member of Parliament, and a four-time mayor of Montreal.-Political career:...

 campaigned against conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. On August 2, 1940, Houde publicly urged the men of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 to ignore the National Registration Act. Three days later, he was placed under arrest
Arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 on charges of sedition. After being found guilty, he was confined in internment camps in Petawawa, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, and Gagetown
Gagetown, New Brunswick
Gagetown is a Canadian village in Queens County, New Brunswick. It is situated on the west bank of the Saint John River and is the county's shire town.-Acadians:...

, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, until 1944. Upon his release on August 18, 1944, he was greeted by a cheering crowd of 50,000 Montrealers and won back his position as the Mayor of Montreal in the election in 1944.

Hong Kong


A Sedition Ordinance had existed in the territory since 1970, which was subsequently consolidated into the Crime Ordinance in 1972. According to the Crime Ordinance, a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the person of government, to excite inhabitants of Hong Kong to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Hong Kong as by law established, to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Hong Kong, to raise discontent or disaffection amongst inhabitants of Hong Kong, to promote feelings of ill-will and enmity between different classes of the population of Hong Kong, to incite persons to violence, or to counsel disobedience to law or to any lawful order.

Article 23
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 is the basis of a security law proposed by the Government of Hong Kong. It states:On 24 September 2002 the government released its proposals for the anti-subversion law. It is the cause of considerable controversy and division in Hong Kong, which operates as a...

  of the Basic Law requires the special administrative region to enact laws prohibiting any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

 of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. The National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill was tabled in early 2003 to replace the existing laws regarding treason and sedition, and to introduce new laws to prohibit secessionist and subversive acts and theft of state secrets, and to prohibit political organisations from establishing overseas ties. The bill was shelved following massive opposition from the public.

New Zealand


Sedition charges were not uncommon in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 early in the 20th Century. For instance, the future Prime Minister
Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is New Zealand's head of government consequent on being the leader of the party or coalition with majority support in the Parliament of New Zealand...

 Peter Fraser had been convicted of sedition in his youth for arguing against conscription during World War I, and was imprisoned for a year. Perhaps ironically, Fraser re-introduced the conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 of troops as the Prime Minister during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

's first sedition trial in decades, Tim Selwyn
Tim Selwyn
Tim Selwyn is a New Zealand political activist who was found guilty of sedition on 8 June 2006, the first person charged with sedition in New Zealand for more than 30 years. He is also editor of magazine, has a with the same name....

 was convicted of sedition (section 83 of the Crimes Act 1961
Crimes Act 1961
The Crimes Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of New Zealand administered by the Ministry of Justice.-Amendments:The Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 amended the Crimes Act, allowing for consensual homosexual relationships between men....

) on 8 June 2006.
Shortly after, in September 2006, the New Zealand Police laid a sedition charge against a Rotorua
Rotorua
Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The city is the seat of the Rotorua District, a territorial authority encompassing the city and several other nearby towns...

 youth, Christopher Russell, 17, who was also charged with threatening to kill. The Police withdrew the sedition charge when Russell agreed to plead guilty on the other charge.

In March 2007, Mark Paul Deason, the manager of a tavern near the University of Otago
University of Otago
The University of Otago in Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest university with over 22,000 students enrolled during 2010.The university has New Zealand's highest average research quality and in New Zealand is second only to the University of Auckland in the number of A rated academic researchers it...

, was charged with seditious intent although he was later granted diversion
Diversion program
A diversion program in the criminal justice system is a program run by a police department, court, a district attorney's office, or outside agency designed to enable alleged offenders of criminal law to avoid criminal charges and a criminal record...

 when he pleaded guilty to publishing a document which encourages public disorder Deason ran a promotion for his tavern that offered one litre of beer for one litre of petrol. At the end of the promotion, the prize would have been a couch soaked in the petrol. It is presumed the intent was for the couch to be burned — a popular university student prank. Police also applied for Deason's liquor license to be revoked.

Following a recommendation from the New Zealand Law Commission
New Zealand Law Commission
New Zealand's Law Commission was established in 1986 by the Law Commission Act 1985. The Commission is a Crown Entity under the Crown Entities Act 2004....

, the New Zealand government announced on 7 May 2007 that the sedition law would be repealed. The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Act 2007
Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Act 2007
The Crimes Amendment Act 2007 is an Act of Parliament passed in New Zealand in 2007. It removed the crime of sedition from the New Zealand statute book.-Background:...

 was passed on 24 October 2007, and entered into force on 1 January 2008.

Civilian


In 1798, President John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts
Alien and Sedition Acts
The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution's reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams...

, the fourth of which, the Sedition Act or "An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States" set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for "opposing or resisting any law of the United States" or writing or publishing "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" about the President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 or the U.S. Congress, but specifically not the Vice-President. This Act of Congress was allowed to expire in 1801 after the election of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 to the Presidency. He had been the Vice-President at the time of the Act's passage.

In the Espionage Act of 1917
Espionage Act of 1917
The Espionage Act of 1917 is a United States federal law passed on June 15, 1917, shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I. It has been amended numerous times over the years. It was originally found in Title 50 of the U.S. Code but is now found under Title 18, Crime...

, Section 3 made it a federal crime, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000, to willfully spread false news of the American army and navy with an intent to disrupt their operations, to foment mutiny in their ranks, or to obstruct recruiting. This Act of Congress was amended Sedition Act of 1918
Sedition Act of 1918
The Sedition Act of 1918 was an Act of the United States Congress that extended the Espionage Act of 1917 to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds...

, which expanded the scope of the Espionage Act to any statement criticizing the Government of the United States. These Acts were upheld in 1919 in the case of Schenck v. United States
Schenck v. United States
Schenck v. United States, , was a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld the Espionage Act of 1917 and concluded that a defendant did not have a First Amendment right to express freedom of speech against the draft during World War I. Ultimately, the case established the "clear and present...

, but they were largely repealed in 1921, leaving laws forbidding foreign espionage in the United States and allowing military censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 of sensitive material.

In 1940, the Alien Registration Act, or "Smith Act
Smith Act
The Alien Registration Act or Smith Act of 1940 is a United States federal statute that set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S...

", was passed, which made it a federal crime to advocate or to teach the desirability of overthrowing the United States Government, or to be a member of any organization which does the same. It was often used against Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 organizations. This Act was invoked in three major cases, one of which against the Socialist Worker's Party
Socialist Workers Party (United States)
The Socialist Workers Party is a far-left political organization in the United States. The group places a priority on "solidarity work" to aid strikes and is strongly supportive of Cuba...

 in Minneapolis in 1941, resulting in 23 convictions, and again in what became known as the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 in which a number of pro-Nazi figures were indicted but released when the prosecution ended in a mistrial. Also, a series of trials of 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA
Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA is a Marxist political party in the United States, established in 1919. It has a long, complex history that is closely related to the histories of similar communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor movement....

 also relied upon the terms of the "Smith Act" -- beginning in 1949—and lasting until 1957. Although the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 upheld the convictions of 11 CPUSA leaders in 1951 in Dennis v. United States
Dennis v. United States
Dennis v. United States, , was a United States Supreme Court case involving Eugene Dennis, general secretary of the Communist Party USA, which found that Dennis did not have a right under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to exercise free speech, publication and assembly,...

 , that same Court reversed itself in 1957 in the case of Yates v. United States
Yates v. United States
Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 , was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving free speech and congressional power...

, by ruling that teaching an ideal, no matter how harmful it may seem, does not equal advocating or planning its implementation. Although unused since at least 1961, the "Smith Act" remains a Federal law.

There was, however, a brief attempt to use the sedition laws against protesters of the Viet Nam war. On October 17, 1967, two demonstrators, including then Marin County resident Al Wasserman, while engaged in a 'sit in' at the Army Induction Center in Oakland, Ca., were arrested and charged with sedition by deputy US. Marshall Richard St. Germain. U.S. Attorney Cecil Poole changed the charge to trespassing.

Poole said, "three guys (according to Mr. Wasserman there were only 2) reaching up and touching the leg of an inductee, and that's conspiracy to commit sedition? That's ridiculous!"

The inductees were in the process of physically stepping on the demonstrators as they attempted to enter the building, and the demonstrators were trying to protect themselves from the inductees' feet.

Attorney Poole later added, "We'll decide what to prosecute, not marshals."

On October 1, 1995, Omar Abdel-Rahman
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman , commonly known in the United States as "The Blind Sheikh", is a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who is currently serving a life sentence at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United...

 and nine others were convicted of seditious conspiracy
Seditious conspiracy
Seditious conspiracy is a crime under US law.As may be seen from the text above, a crime need only be planned: it need not even be attempted; on 1995 October 1, Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of seditious conspiracy....

.

Laura Berg, a nurse at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 was investigated for sedition in September 2005 after writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, accusing several national leaders of criminal negligence. Though their action was later deemed unwarranted by the director of Veteran Affairs, local human resources personnel took it upon themselves to request an FBI investigation. Ms. Berg was represented by the ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

. Charges were dropped in 2006.

On March 28, 2010, nine members of the militia Hutaree
Hutaree
Hutaree is a militia movement group adhering to the ideology of the Christian Patriot movement, based in Adrian, Michigan, in the United States.The group was formed in early 2008...

 were arrested and charged with crimes including seditious conspiracy.

Military


Sedition is a punishable offense under the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice
Uniform Code of Military Justice
The Uniform Code of Military Justice , is the foundation of military law in the United States. It is was established by the United States Congress in accordance with the authority given by the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power . ....

, Article 94.

Germany


Volksverhetzung
Volksverhetzung
Volksverhetzung is a concept in German criminal law that bans the incitement of hatred against a segment of the population. It often applies in, though it is not limited to, trials relating to Holocaust denial in Germany...

 ("incitement of the people") is a legal concept unique to Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It is sometimes loosely translated as sedition.

See also

  • Betrayal
    Betrayal
    Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations...

  • Coup d'état
    Coup d'état
    A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

  • Criminal anarchy
  • Dictatorship
    Dictatorship
    A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

  • Espionage
    Espionage
    Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

  • Fascism
    Fascism
    Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

  • Free speech
  • Guerrilla warfare
    Guerrilla warfare
    Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

  • Kangaroo court
    Kangaroo court
    A kangaroo court is "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted".The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or...

  • Mutiny
    Mutiny
    Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly situated individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject...

  • Police State
    Police state
    A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

  • Political repression
    Political repression
    Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

  • Propaganda
    Propaganda
    Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

  • Rebellion
    Rebellion
    Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

  • Resistance movement
    Resistance movement
    A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

  • Sedition Act
    Sedition Act
    Sedition Act may refer to:*Alien and Sedition Acts, including the Sedition Act of 1798, laws passed by the United States Congress*Sedition Act 1661, an English statute that largely relates to treason...

  • Seditious libel
    Seditious libel
    Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

  • Single-party state
    Single-party state
    A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

  • Terrorism
    Terrorism
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

  • Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

  • Treason
    Treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...