Iraqi shoe thrower’s release delayed
The Iraqi journalist jailed for throwing his shoe at former US President George W. Bush will not be freed on Monday as planned on account of paperwork processing delays, his brother said.
“I received a phone call from my brother who told me he won't be released today because of some delays, most likely they will free him tomorrow,” Durgham al-Zaidi told Xinhua.
Muntazer al-Zaida, a reporter for Iraqi-based al-Baghdadiya TV, was arrested on 14 December 2008 for throwing his shoe at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He was sentenced to three years on charges of assault, but served a shortened sentenced since he had no previous criminal record. Later, his sentence was reduced by 25 percent for good behavior.
According to the Associated Press, al-Zaida’s family said “it will stage a sit-in outside the base Tuesday until he is released, and called on other Iraqis to join them.”
The al-Zaida family has already received widespread support from throughout the world. Dozens of media employees and fans have already gathered outside a judicial complex in central Baghdad in anticipation for his release. “We have had pledges of money, the Emir of Qatar promised a golden horse, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (of Libya) said he would award him Libya's highest honor, other people said they would buy him a sports car,” Durgham al-Zaidi told reporters.
Durgham added that Muntazer would likely retire from journalism since “he is sure that he will be turned away or boycotted by government officials.” “Rather, he told me he is interested in working in a humanitarian organization or becoming an activist for women's and orphans' rights,” he told the Associated Press. Al-Zaidi’s shoe-throw turned him into a hero in the Arab world and beyond.