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Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 15:51 GMT
Is it treason to fight against your country?
The former home office minister Ann Widdecombe has said that British citizens who travel to Afghanistan to fight alongside Taleban forces should be charged with treason.

Miss Widdecombe told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Any British citizen who fights against British forces, in my view, has committed treason and certainly, if they come back to this country, they shouldn't imagine that they can then just enjoy the democratic freedoms and rights of a free society, when they have fought against it."

It also follows defence secretary Geoff Hoon's warning that those who travelled to fight against the US-led coalition could face legal action on their return.

However, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes said on the same programme that action was needed to tackle the conditions that led to British Muslims being keen to fight on the Taleban's behalf.

Do you feel that individuals who fight for the Taleban in Afghanistan should be charged with treason? Should people side with a country because they live there?

To read more of your comments, click here.

This debate is now closed. Read as selection of your comments below.

If taking up arms against the country in which you live and whose freedoms you enjoy is not treason, may I ask what is?
Ross Parker, UK

This isn't an issue of treason or loyalty - it's about humanity

Rob Kelly, UK
If these people are prepared to lose their lives over an issue for which they feel so strongly, do you think they really care about a mere matter of 'British citizenship? The young people who have gone to Afghanistan have gone because they do not want to idly watch TV pictures of world superpowers with hi-tech weapons bombing innocent civilians who are already starving, homeless and helpless. This isn't an issue of treason or loyalty. It's about humanity.
Rob Kelly, UK

Anyone who fights against his country is guilty of treason.
Dee Hall, USA

Freedom of choice is the right each one of us is given by the Creator and Programmer (God). Therefore no institution created by people should interfere with this God-given right. Everyone is free to choose whether to agree with all decisions made by one's country or go against them.
Umbisa Kendeli-Gusa, USA

There are ways to fight for your beliefs without taking arms against your own countrymen

Rhonda, USA
I think that those who leave to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan should be stripped of their citizenship and prosecuted for treason if they dare to come back. There are ways to fight for your beliefs and make yourself heard without taking arms against your own countrymen.
Rhonda, USA

Here is a definition of treason from "Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies". Surely, no one in their right mind can draw any other conclusion than that this is definitely treason!
Bjorn, Singapore

I am a British born Indian Muslim and consider myself as British as any other citizen of this country. Yes, by definition anybody taking up arms against the army of their own country is committing treason. However, as Martin Luther King said, a man may be excused from breaking the law where he believes he follows a higher law - God's law, or even a moral law. Thus I would defend the rights of innocent Afghans NOT to be killed by British soldiers where I felt that there was insufficient justification.

It is treason without any doubt. Can a British Christian champion the cause of Christian militants fighting a religious war in another country against the UK? Can an Indian Muslim fight for Pakistan against India just because they are Muslims? It's definitely a treason if they do so. They should be stripped of their citizenship in such a situation.
Anupama Vedapuri, India/USA

Let us not forget that innocent people are being terrorised and killed in Afghanistan now. This reflects a political decision, not a moral one.
Simon Cammies, Kent, England

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See also:

30 Oct 01 | UK Politics
UK Taleban fighters 'commit treason'
29 Oct 01 | England
British Muslim deaths 'a waste'
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