Iraqi Shoe-Thrower to Get Early Release

LTB logo

BAGHDAD — An 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 behavior, his lawyer said Saturday.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, you may recall, threw both his shoes (one at a time) at Bush during a news conference in December 2008.  (Bush successfully ducked both.  Asked what he thought of the shoe incident, he said, in one of the few intentionally comical statements of his presidency, "All I can report is, it is a size 10.")

Al-Zeidi then became something of a mythic symbol to Muslims angry about the U.S. occupation.  Unsurprisingly, this quickly became ridiculous.  The Associated Press reported that "[A] sofa-sized sculpture of a shoe was erected in his honor in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, but the Iraqi government later ordered it removed."  I was personally more amused by the report from Sadr City that people there were removing their shoes and sandals and waving them around on the end of long poles, just like Brian's followers did in "Monty Python's Life of Brian."  I would guess this was coincidental.

(By the way, be sure to pick up a copy of my new travel guide, Let's Go! Sadr City, which I hope will sell better than my previous guides, Let's Go! Bosnian Serb Republic and Frommer's 24 Great Walks in the DMZ.)

Al-Zeidi was convicted of "assaulting a foreign leader" and initially sentenced to three years in prison, although the court later reduced it to one year.  He will have served about four-and-a-half months per shoe if he is released in September as the report states.

Link: Yahoo! News