Although numerous definitions of political crime exist, one of the most useful is the one developed by P. Beirne and J. Messerschmidt in 1991. They define political crimes as the following:

… crimes against the state (violations of law for the purpose of modifying or changing social conditions) … [and] crimes by the state, both domestic (violations of law and unethical acts by state officials and agencies whose victimization occurs inside [a particular country]) and international (violations of domestic and international law by ...

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