Iraqi Shoe-Thrower Gets Three Years
The journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, had pled not guilty, saying at a hearing earlier this month that he was overcome by passion because of the suffering of the people of Iraq.
“In that moment, I saw nothing but Bush, and I felt the blood of the innocents flowing under his feet while he was smiling that smile,” he said during a hearing last month.
The defense argued that because the offense took place in the green zone, the president was not on an official visit to Iraq, but the judge didn’t buy it. al-Zaidi was charged with an act of aggression against a visiting head of state, which can bring 15 years.
When Mr. Muntader launched his shoes at Mr. Bush during a Dec. 14 news conference, the act seemed to capture a deeply felt emotion here. A statue depicting a large shoe was erected in Mr. Muntader’s honor in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, though it was later ordered dismantled by the Iraqi parliament. In countries from Egypt to Iran, shoe throwing became the means of expressing protest. In Saudi Arabia, it was reported that a man offered $10 million for one of the shoes.
One woman screamed “Maliki is the son of a dog.” A man yelled, “Maliki is an agent of Bush.” Mr. Muntader’s daughter fainted outside the courtroom and his soon said that the verdict was decided before the trial began. One has to wonder if such an act would have brought the perpetrator three years had it happened in the United States. Of course, with the understanding that no one was hurt and President Bush joked about the incident, there are those who would have given Mr. Muntader a ticker-tape parade.Click here for reuse options!
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