Bush shoe thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi ‘too injured’ for court

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at United States President George W. Bush has appeared before a judge in his jail cell because he is too injured to appear in a courtroom,

Written by

Published on

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at United States President George W. Bush has appeared before a judge in his jail cell because he is too injured to appear in a courtroom, his brother says. The allegations came as Iraq’s hot-tempered parliament speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, announced his resignation after a parliament session erupted into chaos as lawyers argued about whether the journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi should be freed, Associated Press has reported.

The al-Zaidi family went to Baghdad’s Central Criminal Court expecting to attend a hearing, his brother, Dhargham, said. He said the family was told that the investigative judge went to see al-Zaidi in jail, and to return in eight days, Associated Press has reported. “That means my brother was severely beaten and they fear that his appearance could trigger anger at the court,” Dhargham said.

However, Iraqi officials and another brother have denied that the journalist suffered severe injuries after he was wrestled to the floor after throwing the shoes during a press conference by Mr Bush in Baghdad on December 14.

The reporter shouted in Arabic: “This is your farewell kiss, you dog.” In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of deep contempt. Al-Zaidi is being held for allegedly insulting a foreign leader, a charge that carries a maximum of two years in prison.

He has been hailed as a hero by some after his action against the US President, who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, triggered anti-US demonstrations being staged in Baghdad and the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf. The Iraqi Government, however, branded al-Zaidi’s actions as “shameful” and demanded an apology from his employer Al-Baghdadia Television, which in turn was calling for his immediate release from custody.