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Archive for Friday, February 20, 2009

Iraqi shoe-thrower speaks at trial

February 20, 2009

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— The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush did not apologize as his trial began Thursday, and instead struck a defiant tone — telling the judges he wanted to hit back at the humiliation Iraq had suffered at U.S. hands.

It was Muntadhar al-Zeidi’s first public appearance since he was arrested in mid-December for hurling shoes at Bush during a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The act turned the obscure 30-year-old reporter into a cult hero throughout much of the Middle East.

“What made me do it was the humiliation Iraq has been subjected to due to the U.S. occupation and the murder of innocent people,” al-Zeidi told the court. “I wanted to restore the pride of the Iraqis in any way possible, apart from using weapons.”

He also said he had been tortured with beatings and electric shocks during his interrogation — allegations the Iraqi government has denied. The trial was later adjourned until March 12.

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