Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Iraqi court cuts shoe thrower's 3-year sentence
From Baghdad comes word that an Iraqi judge has cut most of the prison sentence of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi broadcaster who infamously threw his shoes at President George W. Bush last year at a press conference. Zaidi was convicted of assaulting a visiting head of state for the attack, according to the Washington Post. The throwing of shoes was said to be a show of disrespect in the Arab world. Bush avoided both thrown shoes but Zaidi was wrestled to the ground and taken away after the attack, which occurred during a Dec. 14 press conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad's heavily fortified green zone. Zaidi was convicted in an Iraqi court and sentenced to three years in prison. The April 6 decision, which came as Zaidi's lawyers appealed his sentence, reduced his term to one year. Zaidi, a Sadr City resident who worked for al-Baghdadia, a satellite channel based in Cairo, threw his leather shoes at Bush and shouted, "This is your farewell kiss, you dog," during the news conference, which came during Bush's last visit to Iraq as president. Zaidi said at trial that the attack was the result of his years of anger over the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Post said. Zaidi gained wide fame in the Arab world as a result of the attack, which was broadcast around the world. But three years in prison certainly seemed excessive, since the attack occurred in a country where people get murdered with astonishing regularity. Plus, Bush was able to duck and was not struck by either shoe. Zaidi could be released as early as this fall, according to the Post.