German prosecutors to interview comedian who insulted Erdogan

German prosecutors said Tuesday that they plan to interview a comedian under investigation for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to determine whether to file charges.

Andrea Keller, a prosecutor in the western city of Mainz, said that Jan Boehmermann - who recited a poem on television in which he accused Erdogan of watching child porn and having sex with animals - will be interviewed to establish whether there are grounds to file charges against him under a lese-majeste law.

"The accused, who has not yet selected a defence lawyer, will be granted the right to defend himself," Keller told dpa on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel authorized a formal criminal investigation against the comedian based on the potential violation of an obscure law against insulting foreign heads of state.

The case has raised questions about the limits of free speech in Germany as Merkel has been trying to bolster a deal to return migrants from Greece to Turkey that has made the European Union heavily reliant on Ankara.

Germany's criminal code provides for up to three years in prison or a fine for insulting a foreign head of state. The government has announced that it plans to do away with the law in due course.

Last update: Tue, 26/04/2016 - 14:01
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