Friday, February 3, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Top German court throws out comic’s case over Erdoğan poem

Then-Chancellor Angela Merkel granted a Turkish request to allow possible prosecution for insulting a foreign head of state. A Hamburg court issued an injunction ordering Böhmermann not to repeat most of the poem.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint against rulings that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The legal battle goes back to 2016, when comic Jan Böhmermann recited the poem on public television to illustrate something he said wouldn’t be allowed even in democratic Germany. The poem described Erdoğan as “stupid, cowardly and uptight” before descending into sexual references.

Then Chancellor Angela Merkel granted a Turkish request to allow possible prosecution for insulting a foreign head of state. A Hamburg court issued an injunction ordering Böhmermann not to repeat most of the poem.

An appeals court upheld that decision, rejecting both Böhmermann’s appeal and a bid by Erdoğan’s lawyers to have the ban extended to the whole poem.

The case eventually went to the Federal Constitutional Court, which on Thursday published a curt Jan. 26 ruling dismissing Böhmermann's complaint. It said that it wouldn't consider the case “because it has no prospect of success,” and didn't elaborate on its reasoning.

In a separate case, a Berlin court in 2019 rejected a bid by Böhmermann to ban the German government from repeating Merkel's assessment that the poem was “deliberately hurtful.”

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Loading
Loading...