Comedian Böhmermann to appeal against court injunction on Erdogan poem | News | DW | 18.05.2016
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Comedian Böhmermann to appeal against court injunction on Erdogan poem

The German TV host has decided to appeal against a court's decision to prevent him from reciting a poem critical of Turkish President Erdogan. The verse accuses the leader of bestiality and watching child porn.

Böhmermann's lawyer Christian Schertz said on Wednesday that the Hamburg court's decision to put a restriction on the poem was "blatantly wrong" and based on "technical errors."

Schertz said he would file an appeal against the injunction and even push for a decision from the Constitutional Court. "You can't cut up a painting and only allow parts of it to be shown," he said.

If he failed to respect the injunction, Böhmermann would have to pay up to 250,000 euros or spend six months in jail.

'Slanderous and defamatory'

The German judiciary system allows plaintiffs to register a case in a court of their choice. The Turkish president filed a complaint at the court in Hamburg, known to be particularly strict in cases of defamation.

The court's judges had said on Tuesday that the poem was subject to artistic freedom but contained sexual references that were "slanderous and defamatory" of the Turkish president. They insisted that their decision was based on balancing freedom of opinion, on the one hand, and the personal rights of the plaintiff, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other.

Bildkombo Jan Böhmermann und Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan asked the German chancellor to initiate criminal proceedings against the comedian

"The court has found that the statements in the poem are undeniably slanderous and defamatory and that it is not a question of taste," Erdogan's lawyer Michael von Sprenger told reporters after the verdict was announced.

Merkel's intentions under question

Böhmermann's poem about Erdogan was aired on March 31 in German public television. It made fun of the Turkish leader's authoritarian policies and accused him of indulging in child pornography and having sex with goats.

Last month, the German chancellor allowed a request from Erdogan to investigate the comedian under a law that prosecutes people insulting foreign heads of state. Although prosecutors have not yet filed charges, the incident has sparked a nationwide debate on freedom of speech in Germany.

Critics have also questioned Angela Merkel's intentions regarding Germany's relationship with Turkey, which is part of a multi-billion deal to take back refugees fleeing to Europe.

mg/bw (dpa, epd)

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