The district court in Heilbronn has dismissed a lawsuit by the Berlin SPD politician Sawsan Chebli for insult.
This emerges from the judgment that is available to the German Press Agency (dpa). Chebli was insulted in a Facebook entry from 2020 with the words "Rarely seen such a stupid piece of brain vacuum in politics as Sawsan Chebli". On the other hand, the former state secretary in the Berlin Senate had complained and demanded compensation.
The judge justified her decision by saying that the statement was "still covered by freedom of expression". In the case of ratings, “abusive criticism, formal insults and attacks on human dignity” are not included in freedom of expression, the judge explained.
An abuse in the constitutional sense is given if a statement no longer has a comprehensible reference to a factual dispute. According to the judge, however, this reference is to be assumed in this case.
Chebli expressed his horror at the district court's decision. “With this decision, the court is sending a fatal signal. Freedom of expression does not mean that you can insult and defame people in the worst possible way," she said on Wednesday. Hatred and agitation are not opinions and the Internet is not a legal vacuum.
The 44-year-old, who is often the target of hostilities and death threats online, has also written a book on the subject.
It calls on politicians to regulate US platforms like Facebook and Twitter even more than before, so that people can surf the web without fear. In addition, the book should be understood as an appeal to civil society "to leave the role of observer and to show civil courage," said Chebli.
People have to reflect on their behavior online and recognize that hatred of individuals is not just a concern of those affected, but is also a threat to democracy.