Accessibility links

Germany Permits Prosecution Of Comedian Who Insulted Turkish President

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Berlin has accepted a request from Ankara to seek prosecution of a German comedian who read out on TV a crude poem about Turkey’s president.

Turkey has demanded comedian Jan Boehmermann be prosecuted for insulting a foreign head of state. Under German law, Merkel's government had to grant permission.

"The government will give its authorization in the case at hand," Merkel told reporters on April 15, adding that it was up to the courts to decide on his guilt or innocence.

However, Merkel also announced that Germany would scrap by 2018 the rarely enforced Section 103 of the criminal code -- insulting organs or representatives of foreign states.

Boehmermann read the poem on ZDF television two weeks ago to illustrate what he said wouldn't be allowed in Germany, contrasting it with another channel's earlier satirical song that also poked fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and angered Turkey.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP