Iraq's Bush shoe-throwing journalist says to name torturers

Zaidi, the Iraqi television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes at Bush said he had been tortured with electric shocks and simulated drowning.

Iraq's Bush shoe-throwing journalist says to name torturers

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi television reporter jailed for throwing his shoes at former US president George W. Bush, was freed on Tuesday and said he had been tortured with electric shocks and simulated drowning.

Speaking at the office of his former employer, Al-Baghdadia television, Zaidi -- who was missing a front tooth -- said: "I was tortured with electric shocks, beaten with cables."

He added: "For me it was a good response; what I wanted to do in throwing my shoes in the face of the criminal Bush was to express my rejection of his lies and of the occupation of my country."

Zaidi also said "At the time the Prime Minister went on a satellite television station, saying that he did not go to sleep until he made sure that I found a comfortable bed and a cover, at the very same moment he was talking, I was being tortured."

He added that he believed there were many who would like to see him dead, including unidentified American intelligence agencies.

He said he wanted an apology from Maliki, adding that his guards had also used simulated drowning on him -- the technique of water-boarding used by the Americans.

"I am now free but my country is still captive. I am not a hero, but I have attitude and opinions," he said, explaining his protest. "I feel humiliated to see my country suffer, my Baghdad burning, and my people killed."

"The occupation invaded us under the pretext of liberation. It divided brothers, neighbours, it made our houses endless funeral tents and our streets cemeteries," he said.

Al-Baghdadiya television showed footage of Zaidi arriving at its station surrounded by guards. He was wrapped in an Iraqi flag and wore black sunglasses. On arrival, the staff at his TV station slaughtered at least three sheep in his honour.

"Thanks be to God that Muntazer has seen the light of day," brother Uday said. "I wish Bush could see our happiness. When President Bush looks back and turns the pages of his life, he will see the shoes of Muntazer al Zaidi on every page."

"I feel proud because Zaidi lives in my neighbourhood. I like telling people that," Arkan al-Fartousi, 25, carrying a jug of juice he was serving to thirsty supporters. "I'm so happy he's out from jail."

Zaidi did not take questions after his brief remarks, but family members said he would travel to Greece, where he would receive medical and psychological care.

"He is going to flee," said his brother, Uday al-Zaidi. Part of the reason he fears for his life, his brother said, is that he plans on releasing the names of people who played a role in his being tortured, including those who he said were high-ranking security officials.

"I will name later those involved in torturing me, among them high ranking officials in the government and the Army," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2009, 12:15
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