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German Comedian Wins Legal Battle With Erdogan Over ‘Insulting’ Poem

REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

German comedian Jan Böhmermann won’t face criminal charges for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after investigators closed the investigation Tuesday.

Böhmermann read out the satirical poem March 31 on his television show “Neo Magazin Royale.” The poem was a response to Erdogan’s demands to censor a music video that aired on another German satire show. (RELATED: Read The Poem Germany Considers Too Spicy For Free  Speech Protections)

Erdogan requested that charges be brought against Böhmermann, and Chancellor Angela Merkel approved the request April 15.

A German court later banned the poem for violating a law against insulting foreign leaders, saying a majority of the poem was “slanderous and defamatory” against Erdogan, and that it cannot be recited.

Prosecutors in Mainz said “criminal activity could not be proven with sufficient certainty.” Böhmermann was transparent about the poem being satirical, and that “any listener should immediately recognize … that it was a joke or a piece of nonsense.”

“This stance is supported by the objectively verifiable circumstances, namely the content of the piece, its origins, and the manner of the delivery,” prosecutors said in a statement.

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