Merkel Allows Erdogan To Prosecute German Comedian For Insulting Him

German Chancellor Merkel allows investigation of satirist Böhmermann


Chancellor Merkel has allowed German authorities to launch an investigation into satirist Jan Böhmermann. Turkish President Erdogan requested the inquiry, saying he was insulted by a Böhmermann poem.

In a widely anticipated press conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that prosecutors should pursue charges against Jan Böhmermann. The satirist broadcast a poem that allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The outcome is that the German government will give the authorization in the current case,” Merkel said, stressing that the decision “means neither a prejudgment of the person affected nor a decision about the limits of freedom of art, the press and opinion.”

Merkel also announced on Friday that her government will draft a proposal to replace the current law that criminalizes insulting foreign heads of state, making it “dispensable in the future.”

Erdogan pressed charges against Böhmermann for insulting him personally and as a foreign head of state, which is illegal under German law. In order for an investigation against Böhmermann to begin, the inquiry needed the approval of the German government.

The private defamation case could result in a one-year prison sentence for Böhmermann while insulting a foreign head of state can be punished by up to five years in jail.

Coalition spat over satire

During Friday’s press conference, Merkel admitted “there were different opinions between the coalition partners – the conservatives and the SPD (Social Democrats)” in coming to a decision.

The infighting was made apparent by coalition partner reactions on social media following the announcement.

The SPD’s parliamentary head, Thomas Oppermann tweeted his disapproval: “I think the decision is wrong. Prosecution of satire because of ‘lese-majeste law’ doesn’t fit with modern democracy.”

The general secretary of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), defended the Chancellor’s decision on Twitter, writing: “The government takes the rule of law seriously. Even when it sometimes hurts.”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas – a member of the SPD – said the decision on whether or not Böhmermann’s poem was satire or defamation, is entirely up to the courts.

“The question of whether Böhmermann’s comments were satire or defamation will be decided nevertheless by the courts in accordance with the law and independent of whether the request for prosecution is granted or not,” Maas told reporters.

Maas also confirmed Merkel’s desire to do away with Germany’s antiquated defamation law at the heart of the case. He tweeted: “We want to abolish paragraph 103. Special provisions for insulting foreign heads of state has fallen behind the times.”

“Deliberately offensive” poem

Böhmermann read his sexually explicit poem about Erdogan two weeks ago during his comedy show on German public broadcaster ZDF. The poem was supposed to illustrate what would not be allowed in Germany, in contrast to an earlier satirical song that poked fun at Erdogan with milder language.

Merkel previously defended the satirical song as being protected by the right to freedom of expression, but she later criticized Böhmermann poem as “deliberately offensive.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement on Turkey's request to seek prosecution of German comedian Jan Boehmermann The Böhmermann case has sparked a diplomatic crisis for Merkel

On Thursday, Böhmermann declined to sign a “cease and desist” order from Erdogan’s German lawyer, while ZDF defended the poem as “legally permissible” under German law. ZDF did, however, remove a video of the poem’s broadcast from its online archive.

Merkel to travel to Turkey

The Böhmermann case has unleashed a diplomatic crisis for Merkel, who has had to defend freedom of speech in Germany as well as downplaying Ankara’s political influence as the two countries work together to implement a controversial EU-Turkey refugee deal.

It was also announced on Friday that Merkel and top EU officials will visit Turkey on April 23. The trip is meant to be a “follow-up” to the EU-Turkey deal to stem the flow of migrants into Europe.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans will accompany Merkel to the southern Turkish town of Gaziantep, which is home to many Syrians who fled the civil war in their home country.

rs/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)


Anti-Taliban of Mullah Rasool Warn of Pakistani Conspiracies, Argue That Mullah Mansoor Dead

Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is not alive: Taliban leaders


Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is dead

A dissident commander of the Taliban group has claimed that the group’s newly-appointed Supreme Leader Mullah Akhtar is not alive.


The Taliban commander loyal to Mullah Mohammad Rasool has released a video message saying the Taliban group leaders should pledge allegiance to Mullah Rasool.

Security sources privy of the development have confirmed that two Taliban commanders have pledged allegiance to Mullah Rasool together with their 200 fighters.

The officials speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that the Taliban commanders have also announced they will no more support Mullah Mansoor.

A commander of the dissident Taliban is seen calling on other militants to remain careful regarding the conspiracies of Pakistan.

Another Taliban fighter appearing in the video says that Muslims are taken towards wrong direction by certain circles, accusing Pakistan for spreading propaganda.

He calls on Taliban fighters not to listen to Pakistan and remain careful regarding the individuals working for Pakistan, calling them servants and slaves of Pakistan.

This comes as earlier reports suggested that Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was critically wounded during an infighting and later succumbed to his injuries.

The infighting among the Taliban leaders intensified following the appointment of Mullah Mansoor as the successor of Mullah Omar whose death was confirmed last year.

Western Militarization of South China Sea

Indonesia sinks 23 foreign boats captured for illegal fishing

south china morning post

indonesia fishing boatFlame and smoke are seen from destroyed Malaysian vessels off the coast of Kuala Langsa in Aceh, Indonesia on April 5, 2016. Photo: Xinhua

Indonesian authorities on Tuesday blew up 23 foreign vessels that were captured for fishing illegally in the country’s waters.

The boats, 13 from Vietnam and 10 from Malaysia, were blown up simultaneously in seven ports from Tarakan in northern Kalimantan to Ranai on the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti witnessed the destruction, which was coordinated by the navy, coast guard and police, via live-streamed Internet video at her office in downtown Jakarta.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, has taken a tough stance against illegal fishing since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office in 2014.

Pudjiastuti has overseen the capture of nearly 200 illegal fishing boats from several countries after declaring a fishing moratorium for foreign vessels.

A total of 174 illegal fishing boats have been blown up. The fates of 20 others await court rulings.

Last month, Indonesia destroyed the Nigeria-flagged Viking with explosives. The ship was wanted around the world for illegally taking toothfish from southern waters.

It was seized by the Indonesian navy on February 25 while operating in waters south of Singapore.