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Friday, 13 March 2009

3 Years for Shoe-Thrower

The Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at President George W. Bush was convicted yesterday of assaulting a foreign leader and sentenced to three years in prison, lawyers said. He shouted “Long live Iraq” when the sentence was read.

3 years for throwing shoes, 0 years for 1.2 Million Holocaust

The verdict came after a short trial in which Muntadar Al-Zeidi, 30, pleaded not guilty to the charge and said his action was a “natural response to the occupation.”

Some of his relatives collapsed after the verdict and had to be helped out of court. Security forces forcibly removed others when they became unruly, shouting “Down with Bush” and “Long live Iraq.”

Al-Zeidi could have received up to 15 years in prison for hurling his shoes at Bush last December during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

But defense lawyers said the judge showed leniency because of Al-Zeidi’s age and clean record. An overwhelming majority of Iraqis consider Al-Zeidi a hero for defiantly expressing his anger at a president who destroyed their country after the 2003 invasion. Thousands across the Arab and Muslim world took to the streets to demand his release. Defense lawyers said they would appeal because they believe the action was a legitimate political protest and did not merit prison time.

“This judiciary is not just,” Al-Zeidi’s brother, Dargham, said tearfully. More