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Germany to abolish law on insulting foreign heads of states

Jesco Denzel | Bundesregierung via Getty Images

Germany's government says it's getting out of the business of defending the honor of foreign leaders.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday said Germany was abolishing a law requiring the government's permission to allow the prosecution of anyone deemed to have insulted a foreign head of state, saying it was "outdated and unnecessary."

Last year, the German government was put in the awkward position of having to grant a Turkish request to allow prosecutors to investigate a TV comic who wrote a crude poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Prosecutors later dropped the investigation of comic Jan Boehmermann, citing insufficient evidence that he committed any crime.

The case had complicated already tense relations between Berlin and Ankara.

Insulted foreign leaders can still pursue their own libel and defamation cases.