Related News

Home » World

Journalist threw shoe at Bush for Iraqi pride

AN Iraqi journalist who gained cult status for throwing his shoes at former United States President George W. Bush said at the start of his trial yesterday that he was driven by a desire to restore the pride of his devastated country.

In his first public appearance since he was taken into custody on December 14, Muntadhar al-Zeidi said he did not intend to harm Bush or to embarrass Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"What made me do it was the humiliation Iraq has been subjected to due to the US occupation and the murder of innocent people," al-Zeidi said. "I wanted to restore the pride of the Iraqis in any way possible, apart from using weapons."

The 30-year-old journalist addressed the three-judge panel after being greeted by applause and cheers from supporters as he entered the courtroom in Baghdad.

The chief judge then threatened to order everybody out of the room if they didn't calm down. The trial was later adjourned until March 12.

Al-Zeidi has been in Iraqi custody since he was wrestled to the ground by guards and dragged away after the outburst at Bush's joint news conference with al-Maliki in Baghdad.

When he threw the shoes, he shouted at Bush in Arabic: "This is your farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Al-Zeidi's attorneys say he has been charged with assaulting a foreign leader, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The defense has argued that Bush was not in Baghdad on an official visit because he had arrived in Iraq unannounced. That should mean the charge of assaulting a foreign leader would not be applicable.

Judge Abdul-Amir al-Rubaie adjourned the trial, saying the court needed time to ask the Iraqi Cabinet whether Bush's visit was "formal or informal."

The defendant spoke confidently and showed no signs of the injuries he allegedly suffered at the hands of security forces. Two Cabinet employees who saw the incident testified no bodyguards assaulted al-Zeidi despite confusion at the scene.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend