Germany is ditching a law specifically protecting heads of state and government against insults, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to sue a prominent satirist. Slander and libel laws still apply.This is a good thing, terrible law, but this is really about Merkel dissing the Turkish President, and I think that a significant amount of political self-interest is part of the motivation for doing this.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet decided on Wednesday to abolish the rarely enforced section of the criminal code by January 1, 2018.
"The idea of 'lese majeste' dates back to a long-gone era, it no longer belongs in our criminal law," Justice Minister Heiko Maas (pictured above) said. "The regulation is obsolete and unnecessary," he added.
Maas said heads of state and government would still be able to defend themselves against slander and defamation "but no more or less so than any other person."
Insulted foreign leaders will still be able to pursue their own libel and defamation cases. The main difference between the laws was the extent of the sentence, insulting a political leader could carry up to three years in jail while ordinary libel or slander can carry a one-year jail sentence or a fine.
25 January 2017
Germany is revoking a law that made it an offense to insult foreign leaders: