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"It's treason, then."
―Darth Sidious[1]

Supreme Chancellor Palpatine considered the Jedi attempt to arrest him as treason.

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.[2] 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.[3]

Desertion, the act of departing a military post without permission,[4] and defecting to an opposing or enemy force,[5] were recognized as forms of treason by governments such as the Empire.[6]


High Republic Era[]

"If you leave the Jedi Order—which I haven't, by the way—the Jedi don't try to murder you because you're a traitor. Can you say the same for the Path?"
―Gella Nattai taunts Path of the Closed Fist member Binnot Ullo[7]

During the High Republic Era, Prince Phan-tu Zenn of Eiram and Princess Xiri A'lbaran of E'ronoh agreed to marry to put an end to the so-called "Forever War" between their respective planets, with both heirs also falling in love.[8] Many Eirami decried Zenn as a traitor to his own people,[7] with A'lbaran facing similar strife and being opposed by the radical Children of E'ronoh.[8] The failure of a peace summit on the moon Jedha reopened the war and calls against Zenn from his own people. Meanwhile, the Jedi Order investigated the Path of the Open Hand cult, which was corrupted from a peaceful group into a militant faction[7] by "the Mother"[9] and a radicalized Marda Ro, who reformed the cult into the Path of the Closed Fist.[10] Jedi Knight Gella Nattai suspected that, should a member of the Path try to leave at that time, they would be decried as a traitor and executed.[7]

Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil, considered Doctor Kisma Uttersond unlikely to betray him and the wider Nihil organization.[11] However, Ro came to distrust Uttersond and suspect he was indeed a traitor, resulting in him disptaching the Nihil Zagyar and X-10 to watch over the doctor. When it was proved Uttersond was a traitor, Ro ordered them not to kill the doctor, stating that his death would not help them find other potential traitors among the Nihil.[12]

Ro also had traitors within the Galactic Republic who assisted his aims. His chief spy within the Republic[13] around 232 BBY[14] was Jeni Wataro, the aide to Senator Izzet Noor of Serenno.[13] However, Wataro considered herself "self-employed" and said that she worked for the Eye when it suited her.[15] Ro later seduced Senator Ghirra Starros of Hosnian Prime into turning traitor.[16] While working with the Nihil, Starros and an accomplice attacked Dalnan Vice President Hackrack Bep on the Starlight Beacon space station,[15] before abetting the station's destruction by assisting Ro in acquiring its plans.[16]

Ghal Tarpfen, the Head of Security on Starlight Beacon, was briefly suspected of treason after the assault on Bep,[17] as she had been kidnapped after coming across the scene of the crime[15] and subsequently framed for it, as Starros and her accomplices used Tarpfen's security codes to wipe cameras of any evidence.[17] Tarpfen discovered the traitors and sent a warning message back to the Republic, but only parts of the message were received by Starlight, leaving the Republic in the dark as to the traitors' identities.[15]

Clone Wars[]

"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[18]

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.[19]


The clone known as Slick was arrested for committing treason against the Grand Army of the Republic.

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,[20] left the clone forces of Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker vulnerable to a Separatist attack.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]


Jedi General Pong Krell was arrested and executed as a traitor to the Galactic Republic.

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.[18] Placed in temporary command of the 501st Legion after Anakin Skywalker was recalled to Coruscant by the Supreme Chancellor,[2] 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.[27] 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 ended up being the one who executed Krell for his treason.[18]

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 enslaver 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.[28]

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.[29]


Tup killed Jedi General Tiplar, whom he saw as a traitor due to a defect in his organic "inhibitor" chip.

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33]

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[34]

Order 66 directed all clone troopers to execute the Jedi Knights for treason, along with any clone who refused to comply.

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,[1] 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.[32]

Order 66 further dictated that any clone who somehow managed to disobey the command also be executed for treason,[35] which nearly happened to then-Commander Rex[36] after Ahsoka Tano freed him of the brainwashing by removing his control chip.[35] 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 chip-controlled clones, however. The crash of the Star Destroyer they had been travelling on killed their pursuers, allowing them to erase their tracks and go into hiding.[36]

Questioned Loyalty AtG

The Galactic Empire dealt harshly with those even suspected of disloyalty.

The Galactic Empire often responded to treason by executing those guilty of it.[37] Approximately five years after the end of the Clone Wars,[38][39] 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.[38]

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.[40]

Lieutenant Gorn betrayed the Empire after the woman he had fallen in love with was killed by the Empire.[41] 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.[3][34]

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.[42] 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.[43]

Maketh Tua contacts the rebels

Maketh Tua committed treason by offering secret information to rebels against the Galactic Empire.

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.[44]

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.[45]

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.[46]

Thrawn cover art textless

Grand Admiral Thrawn, an Imperial officer with divided loyalties to both the Chiss and Empire

Grand Admiral Balanhai Savit committed treason against the Galactic Empire during the construction of the DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station, he stole components which were going to be delivered to the project, such as laser cannons, and later sent them to other various Imperial projects such as Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo or Thrawn's TIE Defenders or the construction of more Imperial Star Destroyers. After Thrawn knew that he had comitted treason, he offered him the chance to avoid detention if he helped the Chiss Ascendancy to destroy the Grysk Hegemony's forces. However he refused and started to attack Thrawn's flagship, the Chimaera in a skirmish which Thrawn ultimately won thanks to Commodore Karyn Faro's efforts to defend the Chimaera and Imperial Security Bureau Major Dayja Collerand's help in arresting the traitorus Grand Admiral. However, Palpatine also recognized that Thrawn's loyalties were torn between his people and his oath to the Empire, leaving him on the edge of treason.[47]

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.[48] 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.[49] 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.[50]

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."[51]

New Republic Era and the First Order war[]

"You betrayed the First Order, and as you know, treason is punishable by death."
Tierny, to Tamara Ryvora[52]

Stormtrooper executioners were trained to kill other stormtroopers who committed treason against the First Order.

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.[53]

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.[54]

The executioner trooper was a special type of First Order stormtrooper tasked with executing First Order soldiers found guilty of treason.[55]


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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  2. 2.0 2.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Darkness on Umbara"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion
  4. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Deserter"
  5. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Tipping Points"
  6. TBBtemplate Star Wars: The Bad Batch — "War-Mantle"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 The High Republic: Cataclysm
  8. 8.0 8.1 The High Republic: Convergence
  9. The High Republic: Path of Deceit
  10. The High Republic: Path of Vengeance
  11. The High Republic: The Rising Storm
  12. The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 3
  13. 13.0 13.1 The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
  14. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of The High Republic: Light of the Jedi to 232 BBY.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 SWInsider "Starlight: Shadows Remain" — Star Wars Insider 207208
  16. 16.0 16.1 The High Republic: The Fallen Star
  17. 17.0 17.1 The High Republic: Mission to Disaster
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Carnage of Krell"
  19. Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu 5
  20. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Hidden Enemy"
  21. Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
  22. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Cloak of Darkness"
  23. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Mandalore Plot"
  24. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Voyage of Temptation"
  25. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Academy"
  26. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Shadow Warrior"
  27. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Plan of Dissent"
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Escape from Kadavo"
  29. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Wrong Jedi"
  30. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Unknown"
  31. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Conspiracy"
  32. 32.0 32.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Orders"
  33. Dark Disciple
  34. 34.0 34.1 The Rebellion Begins
  35. 35.0 35.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Shattered"
  36. 36.0 36.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Victory and Death"
  37. Andor logo new Andor — "The Eye"
  38. 38.0 38.1 Lords of the Sith
  39. StarWars-DatabankII Sith in the Databank (backup link) - The Clone Wars lasted approximately three years. The events of the story Lords of the Sith are described within as taking place eight years after the commencement of the Clone Wars.
  40. A New Dawn
  41. Andor logo new Andor — "The Axe Forgets"
  42. Servants of the Empire: Imperial Justice
  43. Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy
  44. Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
  45. Leia, Princess of Alderaan
  46. Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
  47. Thrawn: Alliances
  48. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Secret Cargo"
  49. Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  50. Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
  51. Star Wars: Uprising
  52. SWResistanceLogo Star Wars Resistance — "The Escape"
  53. Bloodline
  54. Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  55. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary

External link[]