Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"103" The Bohmermann

Years ago, the Germans wrote up a law, which referred to as the "103-law".  It basically says that no German can insult the head of a foreign state or government.  The sentence on the max side is five years.

The satirist Jan Bohmermann (from the state-run NEO channel) is in hot water over his commentary of Turkey's President Erdogan.  To make the Turks happy, it would appear that the German government will have to prosecute Bohmermann, and risk some public hostility.

What to anticipate?

Several legal folks have commented that a court case would run very negative for Merkel's handshake deal with the Turks.....make Erdogan look fairly negative....cause public anger against the present government of the CDU and SPD....and the anticipated outcome would be a conviction against Bohmermann of less than a year but a hefty fine (certainly not 250,000 Euro but at least 20,000).

I've sat and read the law.  It's fairly brief and concise.  What bothers me about this is that various German satirists and comedians went out and insult George Bush on a thousand occasions, and never once did anyone attempt to "103" the guy.  Even state-run news organization (not humor-related) insulted Bush.  Never once did 103 get brought up.

How many times did German satirists and comedians insult Putin over the past five years?  Literally thousands of times.  Never once did 103 get brought up.

My humble view is that this will go forward and some court case will occur.  Bohmermann will ask which parts of the dialog were deemed in violation of the 103-law.  The prosecution will be in a bad position because he said a lot of things in his commentary, and some were fairly truthful but would make Erdogan angry as well.  The end will be some judge reading off a conviction, with a fine of some type, and maybe three months in some jail.

All this would do is display Turkey's Erdogan having some power over German citizens....blow more negativity over the CDU-SPD government, anger the general public a little extra, and give Bohmermann a couple o months of peace to write some book while in jail (some Austrian guy did that in 1924.....serving eight months of a five-year sentence).

Democracy has both a sword and shield, and depending on interpretation.....you might get both, just the shield, or get poked with the sword occasionally.

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