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

February 10, 2022 GMT
FILE - Satirist and television host Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 2016. Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint about a ruling that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, File)
FILE - Satirist and television host Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 2016. Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint about a ruling that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, File)
FILE - Satirist and television host Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 2016. Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint about a ruling that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, File)
FILE - Satirist and television host Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 2016. Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint about a ruling that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, File)
FILE - Satirist and television host Jan Boehmermann arrives for the German TV awards in Duesseldorf, Germany, Jan. 13, 2016. Germany's highest court said Thursday that it has dismissed a television comedian's complaint about a ruling that prohibited him from repeating parts of a crude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP, File)

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 Erdogan.

The legal battle goes back to 2016, when comic Jan Boehmermann recited the poem on public television to illustrate something he said wouldn’t be allowed even in democratic Germany. The poem described Erdogan 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 Boehmermann not to repeat most of the poem.

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

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The case eventually went to the Federal Constitutional Court, which on Thursday published a curt Jan. 26 ruling dismissing Boehmermann’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 Boehmermann to ban the German government from repeating Merkel’s assessment that the poem was “deliberately hurtful.”