Shoe-hurling Iraqi reporter to stand trial on Dec. 31

The Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush in response to US occupation and killings, will stand trial on Dec. 31, a court official said on Monday.

Shoe-hurling Iraqi reporter to stand trial on Dec. 31

TV journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi is charged with "assaulting a foreign head of state visiting Iraq," said Abdul Satar Birqadr, spokesman for Iraq's High Judicial Council.

"The Criminal Court has set a date for trial on Dec. 31 and a three-judge panel will run the hearings," he said.

"The case is not complicated and I expect it won't take a great deal of time to reach a ruling," he said, adding that it was up to the court to determine a sentence.

The defendant's lawyer said his client had been severely beaten following the shoe-throwing incident at a Dec. 14 news conference in Baghdad, but Zaidi's brother said the reporter would do the same again if he had the chance.

Uday al-Zaidi said his brother had told an investigative judge on Sunday that he had expected to be shot after hurling his first shoe.

But when that did not happen, "'that gave me time to throw the second (shoe),'" Zaidi quoted his brother as saying. "'If the clock were turned back, I'd do the same thing over again.'"

The trial of Zaidi will likely be closely watched.

Iraqi authorities will give the media full access to the trial.

Zaidi, who visited his brother for over an hour at an undisclosed location where he is being held in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, said that the signs of torture were clear on (Muntazer al-Zaidi's) face and his body.

He said the reporter has a tooth missing, his nose was injured and there were bruises on his arms and legs.

Uday al-Zaidi said his brother had been tortured into telling the authorities that someone persuaded him to throw his shoes at Bush. Maliki referred on Sunday to an alleged accomplice or instigator as someone known for cutting off heads but did not elaborate.


Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Aralık 2008, 09:13
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