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Thread: Trial of 'shoe man' Muntazer al-Zaidi

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    Trial of 'shoe man' Muntazer al-Zaidi

    Trial of 'shoe man' Muntazer al-Zaidi postponed for appeal
    The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush, in one of the most memorable images of the war, had his trial postponed today pending an appeal.
    Muntazer al-Zaidi, who had been due to appear in a Baghdad court tomorrow, is charged with assault against a foreign head of state and could face up to 15 years in prison. His lawyer is appealing for a lesser charge of insulting a visiting head of state, which carries a maximum two-year jail term.

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    Thousands of people have rallied across Iraq to call for Mr Zaidi’s release, while his shoe-throwing antics generated much praise across the Arab world. The incident even inspired several online shoe games.
    Speaking to The Times today, Mr al-Zaidi's family said that they were proud of his action , which has turned his brother, Maithm al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old law student, into a mini celebrity in Baghdad.
    “Whenever I travel on public transport I am hugged and kissed by strangers because I look like my brother,” he said. "They say that I am like an angel sent from Heaven.”
    On the down side, Muntazer al-Zaidi’s three brothers and three sisters all miss the imprisoned journalist. Their parents are dead. “His departure has left a huge hole in my family,” Mr al-Zaidi said.
    He also scoffed at the suggestion by some commentators that his brother’s being able to lob shoes at Mr Bush was a sign that Iraqis are enjoying more freedom of expression, and repeated allegations that he had been mistreated in detention.
    “Seriously, what democracy?,” he said.
    He had been allowed to visit his brother once since his arrest on December 14, he said. “He was not doing very well. He has lost one tooth and had stitches on one side of his nose.”
    Asked whether he had a message for George Bush and Barack Obama, Mr al-Zaidi replied: “Pull US forces from Iraq. There are another one million Muntazers ready to drive you out, not only with shoes but with everything.”
    At today's hearing Muntazer Al-Zaidi's lawyer, Dhiaa al-Saadi, said that throwing shoes had not put George Bush, who ducked to miss them, in any danger danger. "Have you ever heard of anyone being killed by a shoe?," he said.
    "In Europe, they throw eggs and rotten tomatoes to insult. In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of disrespect."
    The TV journalist, in his late twenties, also called the President a dog during the drama, which unfolded this month at a joint press with Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, in the fortified green zone of Baghdad.
    Maitham al-Zaidi was pleased to learn of the appeal. “I hope there will be a fair trial and that he will be set free to the delight of his family and the rest of the world,” he said.
    With elections looming in 2009, the Iraqi Prime Minister is not likely to welcome a topugh sentence in light of the journalist’s massive fan base.

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