Iraq shoe-throwing reporter to leave jail as celebrity
Muntazer al-Zaidi, the television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes in disgust at former US president George W Bush, was expected to be freed to a joyous welcome today, his family said.world Updated: Sep 14, 2009 16:13 IST
Muntazer al-Zaidi, the television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes in disgust at former US president George W Bush, was expected to be freed to a joyous welcome on Monday, his family said.
Zaidi, 30, was initially sentenced to three years for assaulting a foreign head of state but had his jail time reduced to one year on appeal. He is set to be freed early because of good behaviour.
The reporter's three sisters, two brothers and many friends gathered in central Baghdad where well-wishers carried balloons, flags, banners and portraits of the jailed reporter, seeking a first glimpse of him at liberty.
"I went inside and they informed me that the letter of the judge arrived and he will be freed today," Uday, one of Zaidi's brothers, told AFP at Muthanna airport, an assembly point where Iraqi prisoners are often released.
Zaidi shouted "it is the farewell kiss, you dog," at Bush on December 14 last year, seconds before hurling his size-10 shoes at the man who ordered Iraq be invaded and occupied six-and-a-half years ago.
Although Bush, who successfully ducked to avoid the speeding footwear, laughed off the attack, the incident caused massive embarrassment, to both him and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.