Satirist Jan Boehmermann wrote a crude poem about President of Turkey, Erdogan. The president didn’t like that, so he decided to press charges. Now, Angela Merkel is allowing it to happen. See why.
Germany will allow the potential prosecution of a top comedian after the Turkish president filed a complaint.
Jan Boehmermann had recited a satirical poem on television which made sexual references to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Under German law, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had to approve a criminal inquiry.
Mrs Merkel stressed that the courts would have the final word, and it was now up to prosecutors to decide whether to press charges.
The chancellor added that her government would move to repeal the controversial and little-used Article 103 of the penal code, which concerns insults against foreign heads of state, by 2018.
Boehmermann is a satirist and television present who is well-known for pushing the boundaries of German humour. He was given police protection earlier this week.
Some experts say he has a strong defence against potential charges because his poem could be seen as part of a wider piece of satire about free speech, rather than a deliberate insult, the BBC’s Damien McGuinness reports from Berlin.
An earlier remark by Mrs Merkel that the poem was “deliberately offensive” had led to accusations in Germany that she was not standing up for free speech.
The poem was broadcast on ZDF television two weeks ago. The public TV channel has decided not to broadcast Boehmermann’s weekly satire programme this week because of the furore surrounding him.