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Lawyer can call politician 'product of inbreeding': court
Singer Roberto Blanco (left) and Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann (right). Photo: DPA:

Lawyer can call politician 'product of inbreeding': court

The Local · 9 May 2016, 09:01

Published: 09 May 2016 09:01 GMT+02:00

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This most peculiar case, decided by a court in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, has its origins in a headline-grabbing comment by Joachim Herrmann, Bavaria’s interior minister, during a debate on public television about refugees last summer.

Insisting that he didn't have a problem with immigration, Herrmann described Roberto Blanco, a crooner from the 1970s with African roots, as a “wonderful Negro.”

The comment swiftly elicited a mixture of derision and outrage on social media and in the press.

Blanco himself took the mangled compliment in his stride, describing Hermann in turn as a “wonderful white man.”

But others were less than pleased that the Bavarian politician could get away with using such an outdated term.

David Schneider-Addae-Mensah, a lawyer from Karlsruhe who himself is of African heritage, retorted by writing Hermann a letter criticizing his “racist mindset”, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Sunday.

He signed off by writing “Mr Herrmann, you are a really wonderful product of inbreeding.”

The interior minister was less than pleased with the insult. Rather than treating it as a case of a lesson learned, he reported the lawyer to police.

Prosecutors agreed that the insult had gone too far, and argued in court that Schneider-Addae-Mensah should pay a fine.

The Karlsruhe judiciary, though, saw things differently.

Story continues below…

The use of the word Negro was “a derogatory racist description” the judge argued, adding that the accusation of racism in Schneider-Addae-Mensah’s letter was therefore accurate and not punishable.

As for the claim Herrmann was a product of incest, the judge said that Schneider-Addae-Mensah had “a right to hit back” - which is a legal entitlement for those whose honour has been damaged by excessive criticism.

In such an instance the affected person can “respond drastically and sharply”, the judge said.


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