August 30 2009
Muntadhar al-Zaidi (AFP)
An Iraqi journalist jailed after hurling his shoes at George Bush, the former US president, will be released in September.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s sentence was reduced for good behaviour, his lawyer said on Saturday.
Karim al-Shujairi, a defence attorney, said al-Zeidi will now be released on September 14, three months early.
Al-Zaidi was initially sentenced to three years after pleading not guilty to assaulting a foreign leader, then the court reduced it to one year because the journalist had no prior criminal history.
The act of the 30-year-old reporter during Bush’s last visit to Iraq as president turned him into a folk hero across the Arab world amid anger over the 2003 invasion.
The incident, which took place on December 14, embarrassed Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, who was standing next to Bush at the time during a joint news conference.
Neither leader was injured, but Bush was forced to duck for cover as the journalist shouted in Arabic: “This is your farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”
Added September 12 2009