can’t see the forest

Iraqi judge: Shoe-throwing journalist was beaten

Posted in al-Zaidi, George Bush, iraq, middle east, News, protest, USA, World News by Curtis on 12/19/08

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al-zaidi2

According to the investigating Iraqi magistrate, Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at visiting U.S. President George W. Bush and called him a “dog,” was beaten while in custody and had bruises on his face to show for it.

The Guardian reports:

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush was beaten afterwards and had bruises on his face, the investigating judge in the case said today, as a senior cleric in Iran urged others to wage a “shoe intifada” against the US.

The reporter, Muntazer al-Zaidi, had bruises on his face and around his eyes, said the judge, Dhia al-Kinani said.

Zaidi was wrestled to the ground after throwing the shoes during a Sunday press conference by Bush and the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

He remains in custody and is expected to face charges of insulting a foreign leader.

Kinani said a complaint about Zaidi’s treatment had been filed on his behalf and court officials “will watch the footage to identify those who have beaten him … He was beaten and we filed a case for that. Zaidi did not raise a complaint and he can drop this case if he wants to.”

Clerics in Iran have praised al-Zaidi’s bravery, and his actions have been similarly hailed throughout the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez said that, while the throwing of shoes was uncalled for, the sentiment was justified. Al-Zaidi has asked the forgiveness of the Iraqi Prime Minister; if convicted of insulting a head of state, he could face up to 15 years imprisonment. Prime Minister Maliki has the authority to grant a pardon, but only if a conviction is first handed down. The Iraqi parliament is currently sharply divided on the issue.

Earlier, the journalist’s brother had claimed he was beaten in custody and was taken to an American military hospital for treatment for a broken arm, broken ribs, and other injuries. The court ostensibly intends to closely review video footage to determine if al-Zaidi’s injuries were sustained merely during the struggle to take him into custody, or were incurred or exacerbated later, while in detention.

In Muslim culture, feet and shoes are regarded as especially unclean; the throwing of shoes is therefore one of the most degrading physical insults which could be visited on a person.

I thought Barack Obama would be a shoe-in; I just didn’t know Bush would be a shoe-out. But if the shoe fits . . .

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