Iraqi Shoe Thrower Sentenced to Three Years in JailWorld | March 12, 2009, Thursday // 12:58| views
Muntadher Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in December 2008 in Baghdad. Photo by BGNES
The man who threw his shoes at the former US President George W. Bush was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday in an Iraqi court, CNN reported.
Muntadher Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in December 2008 in Baghdad. Neither shoe hit the president, and those present in the room quickly knocked al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.
Family members and journalists were cleared from the courtroom before Thursday's verdict. After news of the verdict reached family members, al-Zaidi's brother appeared close to fainting.
Al-Zaidi was a journalist who worked for the television network al-Baghdadia. The network also called for his release shortly after the incident.
Al-Zaidi explained his actions during an hourlong appearance in February in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Asked whether anyone pushed or motivated him, al-Zaidi said he was spurred by the "violations that are committed against the Iraqi people."
In the Middle East, throwing shoes at someone is traditionally a sign of contempt.
17 lawyers defended Al-Zaidi, on a charge of assaulting a visiting head of state. There were also three judges in the courtroom, along with the prosecutor and family members, al-Baghdaida reported.
The defense team argued that al-Zaidi's act was an insult, not an assault, because he did not use any weapon . Al-Zaidi's lawyers had told CNN that he could face as many as 15 years in prison. It was unclear why he received only three-years sentence.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!