- "It's treason, then."
- ―Darth Sidious
Treason, also known as treachery, was criminal action against a legitimately recognized government or someone who served that government. In the Galactic Empire, the definition of treason was such that merely speaking against the Empire or its policies was sufficient to place one under arrest, often without trial or other due process. "Traitor" was the formal term for an individual that had committed treason.
Treason was legally defined as criminal action against a legitimately recognized government or its representatives.[source?] Some governments took a wider approach to what was considered treason: the Galactic Empire defined it as any form of criticism of it or its policies. Being caught merely speaking against the Empire was sufficient to be placed under arrest, typically without due processes such as trials.[source?]
- "We all know who's responsible for what happened out there. What we don't know is why. What I'm proposing is highly treasonous. If any man chooses to opt out, do it now. [All the troopers step forward] From this point forward, we are entering uncharted territory. My orders are, we arrest General Krell for treason against the Republic."
- ―Clone Captain Rex, addressing the 501st Legion and members of the 212th Attack Battalion after they were tricked into attacking each other by Pong Krell
After the operation on Hissrich, Jedi Master Prosset Dibs was found guilty of treason for attempting to murder Mace Windu, a fellow Jedi Master and a general in the Grand Army of the Republic. Although Dibs, disillusioned and angry with the Jedi Order, expected to be put to death, he was instead sentenced to rehabilitation at Windu's request.
During the Battle of Christophsis, after a planned ambush on the Separatist Droid Army in Chaleydonia failed, Clone Commander Cody and Clone Captain Rex discovered that another clone trooper, Clone Sergeant Slick, committed treason against the Galactic Republic by selling information to Asajj Ventress and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Slick felt that his actions were justified, and likened service in the Republic Military to slavery for clones. His argument was rejected by the arresting clone trooper officers, who pointed out that Slick's actions had gotten more clones killed than would have happened otherwise. Slick, having managed to destroy the base's heavy weapons depot before his capture, left the clone forces of Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker vulnerable to a Separatist attack.
After Viceroy Nute Gunray's capture on Rodia, Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and Padawan Ahsoka Tano attempted to transport him to Coruscant. However, Senate Commando Captain Faro Argyus had secretly turned traitor and assisted Count Dooku's assassin Ventress when she boarded the Jedi Cruiser Tranquility to rescue Gunray. Ventress killed Argyus not long after their successful escape when he disparaged her skills and implied he would downplay her contributions to the mission when he reported to Dooku.
Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore, head of the New Mandalorians, found several traitors to her government among people she believed to be close political allies. First, Governor Pre Vizsla of Concordia was revealed as the leader of the terrorist organization Death Watch, who wished to restore the Mandalorians' traditional warrior ways. Senator Tal Merrik of Kalevala was then revealed as a Death Watch member, arranging for an attack on Kryze's yacht the Coronet in an attempt to capture her. After Kryze had guaranteed Mandalore's neutrality in the Clone Wars, widespread corruption led to the discovery by visiting Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, assisted by Kryze's nephew Korkie and some of his friends, that Prime Minister Almec was running a black market to enrich himself. Almec was arrested after he attempted to stage a coup against Kryze when he was in danger of being exposed.
Gungan minister Rish Loo committed treason by siding with Count Dooku, using mind control to influence Boss Lyonie into ordering an attack on the Naboo alongside Separatist forces. After Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala exposed Loo's treachery, he stabbed Lyonie and escaped Otoh Gunga. Although the Boss recovered from the attack, pressed for time, Skywalker and Amidala had Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks impersonate Lyonie to call off the attack. Dooku subsequently killed Loo in his own laboratory as he had outlived his usefulness.
During the Battle of Umbara, Jedi General Pong Krell was revealed to be a traitor to the Galactic Republic, having deliberately attempted to get as many of the clone troopers under his command as possible killed in an attempt to become the Sith apprentice of Count Dooku. Placed in temporary command of the 501st Legion after Anakin Skywalker was recalled to Coruscant by the Supreme Chancellor, Krell's abrasive manner and costly strategies increasingly alienated the unit, culminating in troopers Fives and Jesse blowing up an Umbaran supply ship against orders. Considering their actions treason against him and his command, Krell attempted to have them executed, but the firing squad refused. Krell then tricked the 501st and part of the 212th Attack Battalion into attacking each other in the belief that the other unit was disguised Umbarans. With Krell unmasked, Captain Rex led the troopers of both units in arresting him. The clones subsequently decided to execute Krell due to the danger of the remaining Umbaran forces freeing him and gaining valuable intel. Trooper Dogma was also taken into custody for stubbornly continuing to support Krell even after his treason had been revealed, although he redeemed himself somewhat in Rex's eyes by executing Krell after he finally realized the General was a traitor.
Atai Molec, prime minister of the Zygerrian Slave Empire, betrayed his monarch Queen Miraj Scintel to Dooku when Scintel, who had sided with the Separatists to rebuild the slaver empire, attempted to make Skywalker, captured on a mission to rescue abducted Togruta colonists, into her own personal slave instead of executing him as the Sith Lord demanded. Scintel was angered by Molec's treachery, but Dooku Force choked her to death and blamed Skywalker for it to the Zygerrian guards; however, the Jedi Knight was able to escape with his Padawan Tano and persuade the dying Scintel to reveal that the colonists had been taken to Kadavo, prompting a battle to free them.
Placed on trial for the bombing of a hangar at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Ahsoka Tano was accused of murder and treason against the Jedi Order and Galactic Republic, but the true culprit, Barriss Offee, was exposed before the court could render its decision. All charges against Tano were dropped, but the young Togruta chose to reject the Jedi Order's offer to rejoin their ranks, as they had not stood by her during the trial.
When clone trooper Tup abruptly killed Jedi Master Tiplar during the Battle of Ringo Vinda, he was taken into custody for the treasonous act. However, Tup's peculiar mental state afterwards, which included not even remembering what he had done during his brief periods of lucidity, led the Jedi and other clones to suspect that Tup might have been brainwashed by the Separatists. Unbeknownst to anyone but the Sith, however, the true cause of Tup's actions was a malfunction in his behavioral modification biochip, which had been secretly implanted in all of the clones to ensure their compliance with carrying out Order 66, the Sith's secret plan to destroy the Jedi. Eventually, the chips' existence was discovered, but the Kaminoan cloners claimed the chips were there to prevent the clones from going insane, and Tup's actions were attributed to a Ringo Vindan parasite that made his chip break down. This story was also used to "explain" the actions of ARC trooper Fives, who had been framed for attempting to assassinate Supreme Chancellor Palpatine — secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious and the architect of the conspiracy — in order to discredit him after he had attempted to uncover the truth behind Tup's actions.
After the Jedi Order tasked Jedi Master Quinlan Vos with assassinating the Separatist leader Count Dooku, he instead fell to the dark side of the Force, for a time becoming Dooku's apprentice. For this treason, he faced execution, but was given a chance to redeem himself. After he instead tried to get Dooku to lead him to his Sith Master, Darth Sidious, for training, fellow Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared and stated that both he and Dooku were under arrest for treason.
The Jedi Purge and Imperial Era
- "I remember what it was like before your ships showed up, before you Imperials ruled Lothal like the rest of the galaxy."
"Mister Grint, that sounds like treasonous talk to me."
"That it does, sir."
- ―Yoffar, Cumberlayne Aresko, and Myles Grint
When the Jedi attempted to arrest Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine after he refused to surrender control back to the Galactic Senate upon the defeat of General Grievous, he declared "It's treason, then" and engaged them in lightsaber combat. Afterwards, he declared the members of the Jedi Order enemies of the Republic and traitors in entirety and ordered their execution via the secret command Order 66, which compelled all the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic to turn on their Jedi Generals and kill them via the control chips implanted in their brains.
Order 66 further dictated that any clone who somehow managed to disobey the command also be executed for treason, which nearly happened to then-Commander Rex after Ahsoka Tano freed him of the brainwashing by removing his control chip. Clone Lieutenant Jesse denounced Rex for refusing to comply with Order 66, accusing his former superior of treason against the Grand Army of the Republic. Tano and Rex were both able to escape the mind-controlled clones, however, and the crash of the Star Destroyer they had been travelling on killed their pursuers, allowing them to erase their tracks and go into hiding.
Approximately five years after the end of the Clone Wars, Darth Sidious began to suspect that one or more officials of the Galactic Empire on Ryloth were guilty of treason, due to a series of attacks by members of the Free Ryloth Movement that could not have enjoyed the level of success that they did without help from someone inside the Empire. He decided to lead a personal mission to Ryloth to root out the treachery, bringing along his Sith apprentice and feared agent Darth Vader. His suspicions were correct, as the Imperial colonel Belkor Dray had for years been supplying information to the Free Ryloth movement in an attempt to discredit his superior, Moff Delian Mors, in the hope of claiming her position. During Sidious and Vader's mission, he was manipulated into his greatest treachery yet, aiding the Free Ryloth movement in a direct attack on their personal command ship, the Perilous, and then in tracking the two Sith Lords when they escaped to the planet. He also manipulated matters to his own ends by having the rebels attack the vessel of Moff Mors as well. Dray eventually paid for his treason with his life when Moff Mors realized the extent of his activities and had him shot by a V-wing starfighter, an attack he chose not to evade.
Eight years after the rise of the Empire, Imperial advisor Count Denetrius Vidian committed treason in the events that caused the Gorse conflict: Vidian, wishing to destroy his rivals in the Imperial court, particularly Baron Lero Danthe, concocted a scheme to destroy Gorse's moon Cynda, and the thorilide reserves it contained, to smear Danthe's name. Aware of massive thorilide reserves on Gorse's scorching dayside, Vidian intended to ensnare Danthe into taking the blame for the disappearance of Cynda's reserves, which Vidian had claimed in a fraudulent report would last for many years after the moon's destruction, before sweeping in with heat-resistant mining droids he planned to reverse-engineer from Danthe's own designs to claim the glory for himself. A motley group of rebels including pilot Hera Syndulla, fugitive Jedi Padawan Kanan Jarrus and unstable explosives expert Skelly uncovered Vidian's treason, giving Imperial Navy captain Rae Sloane the evidence needed for the Empire to turn on Vidian before Cynda could be destroyed. After Skelly killed Vidian and himself by blowing up the Forager, the count's treason was covered up, with his death blamed on a relapse of his Shilmer's syndrome.
When a couple of Imperial agents harassed Yoffar about not having a license to sell jogan fruit, Yoffar grumbled that he remembered what life was like before the Empire had ruled Lothal. Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko described his words as treasonous and tried to place him under arrest for it, but a timely distraction by Ezra Bridger allowed Yoffar to remain free. Later, Bridger encountered the residents of Tarkintown, many of whom had been placed under arrest for similar "treasonous" statements.
During his time at the Academy for Young Imperials and later the Arkanis Academy, Zare Leonis, an Imperial cadet, secretly participated in treasonous activities against the Galactic Empire. Despite this, when an Imperial crackdown began on the planet Lothal and fellow cadets reported hearing rumors that a cadet at the Pretor Flats Academy had been taken away by stormtroopers for admitting to treason, Leonis dismissed such rumors. Playing the role of the model cadet, he urged his fellow cadets not to believe what he referred to as "friend-of-your-brother" nonsense. Later, Leonis' own treachery was discovered at the Arkanis Academy. He was made to attend a tribunal and sentenced to death by firing squad, but escaped before the punishment could be carried out.
Following an Imperial crackdown on the planet Lothal, a once-loyal Imperial official, Minister Maketh Tua, felt increasingly conflicted regarding the Empire's brutal tactics in searching for a group of rebels that had long troubled Imperial operations on the planet. Also fearing for her own life, she chose to commit treason by defecting from the Empire, promising the rebels information on other rebel sympathizers in exchange for their help in spiriting her away from the planet. Her attempt at defection was not successful, as her actions were tracked by the Empire, and she was killed in a blast orchestrated by the Empire and overseen by Darth Vader. The rebels were then blamed publicly for her death.
Following a rebellious incident involving the theft of a medical frigate, the Galactic Empire traced the incident to elements within the planet Christophsis, arrested many within the planet's government, and executed Christophsis's prime minister for treason, then "pacified" his home city of Tophen as an example.
Imperial propaganda artist Coba Dunivee was arrested on trumped-up treason charges on Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's orders after creating the propaganda piece Imperial Campaign Poster 34.371.C as, in contrast to Dunivee's earlier works, which had hewed to a standard brutalist style, the poster appeared to be an attempt to imitate the colourful artwork of Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian artist aligned with the rebellion. For her attempt at copying the competition, after her arrest Dunivee vanished from all records.
Though it did not always refer to it directly as such, the Galactic Empire considered any rebellion against it to be treason. When Senator Mon Mothma spoke out against the Ghorman Massacre, the Empire declared her to have committed treason. When he captured Princess Leia Organa, Darth Vader was unsympathetic to her pleas, describing her as "a member of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor." He then subjected her to harsh torture, hoping to extract information from her regarding where she had hidden the stolen Death Star plans. Later, after the destruction of the Death Star, Inferno Squad was formed and tasked with investigating and dealing with treasonous acts both inside and outside the Empire's ranks.
Following the pivotal events of the Battle of Endor, Imperial Governor Ubrik Adelhard described reports of the destruction of the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station and the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader as treasonous rumors. He then established the Iron Blockade and began persecuting those who spread such "rumors."
New Republic Era and the First Order war
When Lady Carise Sindian proposed the title of First Senator as a new rank within the Galactic Senate of the New Republic to replace the title of Chancellor, it was met with an immediate shout that the idea was high treason against the core values of the New Republic.
The defection of the stormtrooper FN-2187, later known as "Finn," was considered an act of high treason by the First Order. Following his defection, several individuals in the First Order such as FN-2199 and Kylo Ren called the former stormtrooper a traitor.
- Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious
- YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Owners' Workshop Manual
- Star Wars: Destiny – Across the Galaxy (Card: Questioned Loyalty)
- Star Wars Bust Collection 1 (Star Wars Universe: Darth Vader)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle!