The New International Encyclopædia/Political Offenses

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POLITICAL OFFENSES. Acts which are considered as injurious to the safety of the State, or which involve a violation of the allegiance due from a subject or citizen to the supreme authority of a nation. Such offenses are to be distinguished from those which merely disturb the public peace, as murder, theft, and the like, and which do not strike at the Government itself.

Political offenses are now usually exempted from extradition treaties. However, England and the United States, to avoid international complications, have passed laws tending to prevent expeditions against foreign governments being fitted out within their territorial limits. The tendency in modern times is to deal leniently with political offenders. For example, although treason is nominally punishable with death in most countries, the sentence is now usually commuted to life imprisonment, as in the case of Col. Arthur Lynch, who was convicted of treason in England after the Boer War. See Citizen; Extradition; Government; Treason.