German prosecutors drop investigation against comedian who insulted Turkish president

German prosecutors have dropped an investigation into comedian Jan Boehmermann over a ribald poem he wrote about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reports the BBC.

Boehmermann's televised performance quipped that Erdogan fucked goats, among other insults, leading to an official complaint and an investigation.

Boehmermann is a satirist and television presenter well-known for pushing the boundaries of German humour.

The poem was broadcast on ZDF television. The comedian was later given police protection.

Mr Erdogan has drawn much criticism in Turkey and internationally for attacking political opponents, including harassment of journalists. Many accuse him of authoritarian methods, stifling legitimate dissent and promoting an Islamist agenda.

The Turkish government cited an ancient lese-majeste law making it illegal to insult foreign heads of state. Though saying the law should be scrapped, German Chancellor Angela Merkel approved the inquiry and was critical of Boehmermann.

In the resulting uproar over free speech, however, both Merkel and prosecutors came under withering criticism—and stories about Boehmermann and his work only proliferated.

Other people who have quipped about Ergodan's alleged affection for quadrupeds include UK foreign minister Boris Johnson.

Previously: German chancellor allows prosecution of satirist who insulted Turkish president

Notable Replies

  1. renke says:

    as an addendum: the dropped charges are about the criminal law (Germany still has some kind of lèse-majesté), Erdoğan's civil libel action is afaik held up

  2. See, it was a simple mistake that anyone could have made. And as soon as* they realized that, they dropped the charges.

    *six months after

    Seriously, though... Their excuse for letting him go isn't "It's ridiculous to prosecute someone for an insult," but rather, "We can't prove that he committed a crime?" Not, "We welcome the free and open exchange of ideas," but "Some people (foreign heads-of-state) are more equal than others when it comes to being insulted, but we'll let you get away with it this time?"

    This has completely gasted my flabber.

  3. KarlS says:

    As was to be expected all along.

    I hate that petit bourgeois little shit for his smugness and and rather nasty classist streak, but he sure is a masterful troll.

    To get so many people so up in arms like that was quite an achievement.

  4. KarlS says:

    She could have, but most commentators seemed to agree that letting the legal system do its job without political interference was the better decision.

  5. I am apologizing for the language I used to raise a point, language is not just insensitive to you, but to an entire country who has done almost everything that could be asked of them, and more, to repent and atone for a national shame committed by people who are mostly long-dead at this point.

    I am apologizing because what I said was offensive, not because you took offense.

    I am not apologizing for the underlying point --- that, to prevent injustice, unjust laws should be resisted, not followed --- which was lost in the offensively hyperbolic statement that I used to make it.

    And I am offering you the option to leave that statement up as a monument to my insensitivity, or remove it, to prevent further offense. I cannot unmake the statement, and I find myself thoroughly uncertain if I should wear that statement as the albatross around my neck, as a symbol of the wrong that I have done, or whether it would be better to erase the wrongness so that it cannot spread further. I do not trust my own judgement to make the decision, which is why I offer it to you.

    Edit: And since you're taking your time making that decision, I've adopted a middle ground in the interim.

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