German court bans bulk of anti-Erdogan poem

German court bans bulk of anti-Erdogan poem

Hamburg court rules that certain parts of poem 'include abusive and libelous content'

BERLIN (AA) - A German court has banned Tuesday large sections of a controversial poem mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Hamburg court ruled that German comedian Jan Bohmermann’s satirical text included racist biases, sexual references and insults against Erdogan exceeding the limits of freedom of expression.

"With its decision, the court has partially accepted the complaint and it banned Bohmermann from repeating certain passages of the poem, which include abusive and libelous content, which does not have to be accepted by Erdogan," said the statement issued by the court. ​

The court issued a preliminary injunction banning the comedian from repeating these sections of the text, which it said breached the personal rights of Erdogan.

Bohmermann sparked an uproar last month with his sexually crude and insulting poem about Erdogan, which he read on public broadcaster ZDFneo on March 31.

Erdogan's lawyers filed a complaint against the comedian.

The Hamburg court imposed a ban on large sections of the poem but allowed Bohmermann to repeat the parts of the text, which included criticism of the human rights situation in Turkey.

The court case in Hamburg was opened after Erdogan’s complaint as a private individual.

The German comedian faces another case in Mainz, after Turkey officially protested against his show and demanded prosecution, according to paragraph 103 of the German penal code.

The little-used legislation states that any German citizen who insults a foreign head of state can face a fine or imprisonment not exceeding five years.

Paragraph 104a of the same law states that such offences can only be prosecuted if the foreign government concerned makes a request to the federal German government, and it accepts this request.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has decided on April 15 to allow the criminal prosecution of Bohmermann for his controversial poem.

Merkel underlined her government's commitment to democratic freedoms and rule of law, but said in line with the existing penal code, courts should decide whether Bohmermann defamed the Turkish president.

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