The head of the Berlin branch of Germany’s Pirate Party was arrested for “insulting a representative of a foreign state” when he quoted a line from comedian Jan Boehmermann’s satirical poem about Erdogan.
German police arrested Bruno Kramm as he conducted a “literary analysis” of the Boehmermann’s poem in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin, during a rally in support of the comedian, according to the Morgenpost newspaper
The politician cited a couple of lines from the now-infamous piece that landed Boehmermann in hot water, namely, “Kicking Kurds, beating Christians,” which refer to the Turkish authorities’ reported crackdown on minorities.
Kramm was approached by several police officers as he was reciting the lines and taken into custody. The police dispersed the gathering shortly thereafter.
One of the activists, Franz-Josef Schmitt, posted a photo of a police van, saying that nobody is allowed to visit Kramm.
According to the newspaper, police have accused Kramm of violating a rarely used section of the German criminal code, namely section 103, that prohibits insulting “organs and representatives of foreign states.”
— Piratenpartei (@Piratenpartei) April 22, 2016
“When people slightly criticize the government in Turkey, they are persecuted, beaten or disappear. In contrast to this, the dictator Erdogan is allowed to significantly restrict the right of assembly and the freedom of expression in Germany merely for a statement, that he beats Kurds and Christians,” Kramm had written in a statement published on the German Pirate Party’s official website.
“Who makes such people agents of inhumane refugee policy, should not be surprised when fundamental rights disappear also in Europe,” he added, referring to the heavily criticized EU-Turkey migrant deal recently praised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The police had reportedly sanctioned the rally on condition that the activists would not quote any lines from Boehmermann’s poem, because “it may constitute a criminal offense of defamation,” said police spokesman Stefan Redlich, as cited by Morgenpost.
Ahead of the rally, Schmitt wrote that “police have explicitly banned us from performing critical dialectical analysis of the Boehmermann’s poem…otherwise they will bring criminal charges and remove a microphone.”
The party says it has been staging weekly demonstrations in front of the Turkish embassy on Fridays to protest the “systemic terror of censorship, oppression, despotism and killings of the dictator Erdogan.”
Earlier on Friday, Merkel admitted that it had been a mistake to express her personal opinion of the German comedian’s poem, which she condemned for being “deliberately insulting.”