Hannelore Kraft.jpg
The Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft sits in a conference hall at the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in Duesseldorf, Germany, 01 July 2016.
Photograph: EPA/OLIVER BERG

The Cologne district court on Wednesday ordered a man to pay 2,250 euros (2,470 dollars) for insulting a German politician in their email correspondence.

"You must have the IQ of a piece of toast," the 53-year-old wrote in his email to Hannelore Kraft, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The man wrote two emails in which he referenced her proposal to put long-term unemployed people to work helping refugees.

He used other profanities and went on to call Kraft and other politicians a "corrupt bunch" who belong in the stocks.

Kraft responded to the first email with details about the proposal, the judge said. After receiving a second abusive email, she filed a personal complaint.

The accused, who was jobless at the time, claimed he was "frustrated."

This incident comes after German comedian Jan Boehmermann sparked an international spat with Turkey after reading out on television a poem that insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan prosecuted Boehmermann and filed a separate defamation lawsuit.

A Hamburg court ruled that while Boehmermann's poem was satirical and therefore subject to artistic freedom, it contained sexual references about Erdogan that were "slanderous and defamatory."

The court said its decision was based on balancing freedom of opinion and artistic expression on the one hand and the personal rights of the plaintiff on the other.

German citizens can also be fined for insulting people while driving. Fines are upwards of 200 euros. Giving the middle finger risks a 4,000-euro fine.

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The Turkish government on Monday called unacceptable a satirical poem on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited on public television by a German comedian and demanded his punishment for insulting a head of state.

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