Tomoya Kawakita is making headlines for the first time in five decades. That’s because he was the last person in the U.S. convicted of treason. Kawakita was a Japanese-American sentenced to death in 1952 for tormenting American prisoners of war during World War II. President Eisenhower, a Republican, later commuted his sentence to life in prison.
Adam Gahahn, an Oregon-born spokesman for the terrorist group al-Qaeda is the first American to be charged with treason (in 2006) since Kawakita. Gahan has been captured in Pakistan. The 31-year-old Gadahn encouraged jihad for six years in numerous Al Qaeda videos. He has even encouraged American Muslims to attack the United States. The treason charge still carries the death penalty.