Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apology or Arm Twisting?


A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister says the journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush has asked for a pardon.

Spokesman Yassin Majid says that in a letter sent Thursday to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the journalist described his behavior as "an ugly act" and asked to be pardoned.

Majid says that Muntadhar al-Zeidi in the letter recalls the kindness the prime minister once showed him during an interview in 2005 and asked for al-Maliki to show him kindness once again.

Al-Zeidi, a correspondent for an Iraqi-owned television station based in Cairo, Egypt, could face two years imprisonment for insulting a foreign leader.

Some of al-Zeidi's relatives say if he did express regret it was under pressure. We do know his arm was broken and that he was beaten up badly, so what is the truth?



Update 12/21/08

Iraqi shoe-thrower: I would do it again
Sat, 20 Dec 2008 09:45:11 GMT


Muntadhar al-Zaidi throwing his shoes at George Bush

The Iraqi journalist who shocked the world by throwing his shoes at the US president reportedly says he would do it again if given the opportunity.

"In a letter to Iraqi prime minister, Muntadhar al-Zaidi has only apologized to Nuri al-Maliki himself," Fardanews reported, citing comments by an Iraqi source familiar with the case.

"He said that he felt no remorse for throwing his shoes at the 'Great Satan', George Bush, and added that he would repeat his actions if he sees him again, because Bush's forces have killed many of Iraq's children," added the source.

Al-Zaidi has told the judge investigating the incident that Bush was the target of his action not Nuri al-Maliki, whom he likes and respects, said the source, who according to Fardanews was close to the investigations.

Al-Baghdadiya satellite channel correspondent Muntadhar al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at US President George Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday, shouting in Arabic 'this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog'!

News of al-Zaidi's lack of remorse came after several Western media outlets reported that the journalist had written to Maliki apologizing for the incident, and describing it as an 'ugly action'.

Al-Zaidi's brother Uday, however, has rejected the reports, calling them 'incorrect'.

"This apology is not a real one. If they (the government) want an apology, they must first release him so he can do it freely and not under pressure," said Uday.

Fardanews also published comments by an anonymous Iraqi official involved in investigations, who confirmed that al-Zaidi had apologized to Maliki, but said that the reporter did not regret his action.

The official also said that in a written statement to the judge, al-Zaidi had said that he expected to be killed by the Bush's body guards after hurling the first shoe.

"It seemed that his bodyguards were not on full alert at the time, that was how I managed to throw the second shoe," the official quoted al-Zaidi as saying.

MJ/DT

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