German prosecutors drop investigation against comedian who insulted Turkish president


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/04/german-prosecutors-drop-invest.html


#2

as an addendum: the dropped charges are about the criminal law (Germany still has some kind of lèse-majesté), Erdoğan’s civil libel action is afaik held up


#3

Erdogan is a doosher.


#4

See, it was a simple mistake that anyone could have made. And as soon as* they realized that, they dropped the charges.

*six months after

Seriously, though… Their excuse for letting him go isn’t “It’s ridiculous to prosecute someone for an insult,” but rather, “We can’t prove that he committed a crime?” Not, “We welcome the free and open exchange of ideas,” but “Some people (foreign heads-of-state) are more equal than others when it comes to being insulted, but we’ll let you get away with it this time?”

This has completely gasted my flabber.


#5

As was to be expected all along.

I hate that petit bourgeois little shit for his smugness and and rather nasty classist streak, but he sure is a masterful troll.

To get so many people so up in arms like that was quite an achievement.


#6

That’s how a law system works. Sounds absurd, but it’s also there to prevent injustice.


#7

Oddly enough, “the law is ridiculous” is not considered a robust defense. It has been tried on millions of occasions, and almost never works.


#8

There is such a thing as prosecutorial discretion, though.

Whether or not something is illegal, you can choose not to bring charges for it in the first place.


#9

We are talking about Germans here, who are not known for bucking the system. Especially bureaucrats.


#10

the law in question is an especially weird one - the government (represented by the minister of justice after consulting the chancellor) has to give green lights so it can be prosecuted at all.

so the prosecutor here had to begin an earnest investigation, the higher-ups decided so (imo it was coward that the gov didn’t laugh in Erdogan’s face, but anyway)


#11

So, what you are saying is, the prosecutor was just following orders?
Edit: That is a thoroughly offensive comparison, and I regret and apologize for making it.


#12

No there isn’t - at least not as Americans understand it.


#13

Okay, let me rephrase.

From the article:

In April, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Germany said her government would allow the potential prosecution of the comedian, triggering criticism that she did not stand up for free speech.

Under German law, the cabinet had to approve a criminal inquiry.

So, whether or not it was illegal, Merkel could have chosen not to bring charges for it in the first place.


#14

Not orders, but the letter of the law. Much more important than the spirit. What the guy actually did was go through the motions, file the paperwork, but not actually put any effort into it. What I saw was a case of “I don’t want anyone claiming I didnt do my job, even though this is bullshit.” And now he can credibly say “I did my investigation, so there is no case and I can prove it.”


#15

She could have, but most commentators seemed to agree that letting the legal system do its job without political interference was the better decision.


#16

ignoring @nimelennar’s near-Godwin he has still a point: In Germany the prosecution offices are not independent but bound by instructions, the highest authority is the minister of justice


#17

[obvious comment]Test run for life under Trump[/obvious comment]


#18

And here, the system was in hindsight pretty clear-cut. Erdogan made a formal request under an almost forgotten law, and one of the things nobody wanted to do was put themself above the law.


#19

If that sort of thing is acceptable, then I am out of here.


#20

the law states the prosecution is at the discretion of the government, ignoring a request would be totally legal