On Wednesday German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that the country would abolish an “outdated and unnecessary” 19th-century law requiring government permission to prosecute someone accused of insulting a foreign head of state.
This decision comes a year after Berlin accepted the Turkish government’s request to investigate German comic Jan Böhmermann, after the latter satirized Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan in a poem broadcast on the ZDF television network in March 2016.
German prosecutors ultimately scrapped the investigation, stating that “There is no evidence that the accused was making a serious attack on the personal or social reputation of the Turkish president.”
This incident further complicated the relationship between Berlin and Ankara, as Syrian refugees who had German visas were routinely being refused entry into Turkey.
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