Shoethrower to be released for good behavior

Original source: morningstaronline.co.uk

The Iraqi journalist imprisoned for hurling his shoes at former President George W Bush will be released next month after his sentence was reduced for good behaviour.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi's act of protest turned him into a folk hero across the Arab world, as his case became a rallying point for critics who resented the 2003 US invasion and occupation.

"Al-Zeidi's shoes were a suitable farewell for Bush's deeds in Iraq," Sunni parliamentarian Dhafir al-Ani said. "Al-Zeidi's act expressed the real will and feelings of the Iraqi people. His anger against Bush was the result of the suffering of his countrymen."

The journalist has been in custody since the incident, which occurred as Mr Bush was holding a news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr Zeidi was initially sentenced to three years in prison after pleading not guilty to assaulting a foreign leader. The court then reduced it to one year because the journalist had no prior criminal history.

Defence attorney Karim al-Shujairi said that Mr Zeidi will now be released on September 14.

"We have been informed officially about the court decision," Mr Shujairi said. "His release will be a victory for the free and honorable Iraqi media."

Judicial spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said he had no immediate information about the release because it was a weekend.

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