Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody'

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Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody'

Post by Guysanto » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:31 am

BBC NEWS Http://
Shoe thrower 'beaten in custody'

The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody.

Muntadar al-Zaidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC.

Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush at a news conference, calling him "a dog".

The head of Iraq's journalists' union told the BBC that officials told him Mr Zaidi was being treated well.

The union head, Mouyyad al-Lami, said he hoped to visit his colleague later.

An Iraqi official said Mr Zaidi had been handed over to the judicial authorities, according to the AFP news agency.

Earlier, Dargham al-Zaidi told the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Baghdad he believed his brother had been taken to a US military hospital in the Iraqi capital.

A second day of rallies in support of Mr Zaidi have been held across Iraq, calling for his release.

Meanwhile, offers to buy the shoes are being made around the Arab world, reports say.

Hero figure

Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.

The Iraqi authorities have said the 28-year-old will be prosecuted under Iraqi law, although it is not yet clear what the charges might be.

Iraqi lawyers have speculated that he could face charges of insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, who was standing next to President Bush during the incident. The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Our correspondent says that the previously little-known journalist from the private Cairo-based al-Baghdadia TV has become a hero to many, not just in Iraq but across the Arab world, for what many saw as a fitting send-off for a deeply unpopular US president.

As he flung the shoes, Mr Zaidi shouted: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog."

Dargham al-Zaidi told the BBC that his brother deliberately bought Iraqi-made shoes, which were dark brown with laces. They were bought from a shop on al-Khyam street, a well-known shopping street in central Baghdad.

However, not everyone in Iraq has been supportive of the journalist's action.

Speaking earlier in Baghdad, Mouyyad al-Lami described Mr Zaidi's action as "strange and unprofessional", but urged Mr Maliki to show compassion.

"Even if he has made a mistake, the government and the judiciary are broad-minded and we hope they consider his release because he has a family and he is still young," he told the Associated Press news agency.

"We hope this case ends before going to court."

Abducted by insurgents

The shoes themselves are said to have attracted bids from around the Arab world.

According to unconfirmed newspaper reports, the former coach of the Iraqi national football team, Adnan Hamad, has offered $100,000 (£65,000) for the shoes, while a Saudi citizen has apparently offered $10m (£6.5m).

The daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Aicha, said her charity would honour the reporter with a medal of courage, saying his action was a "victory for human rights".

The charity called on the media to support Mr Zaidi and put pressure on the Iraqi government to free him.

Mr Zaidi, who lives in Baghdad, has worked for al-Baghdadia for three years.

Muzhir al-Khafaji, programming director for the channel, described him as a "proud Arab and an open-minded man".

He said that Mr Zaidi was a graduate of communications from Baghdad University.

"He has no ties with the former regime. His family was arrested under Saddam's regime," he said.

Mr Zaidi has previously been abducted by insurgents and held twice for questioning by US forces in Iraq.

In November 2007 he was kidnapped by a gang on his way to work in central Baghdad and released three days later without a ransom.

He said at the time that the kidnappers had beaten him until he lost consciousness, and used his necktie to blindfold him.

Mr Zaidi never learned the identity of his kidnappers, who questioned him about his work before letting him go.

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Post by Guysanto » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:04 pm

Poor guy! Would Bush intervene on his behalf, especially when he did not get injured, and actually displayed surprising quick reflexes?

The shoe fits, but if it does not hit you must acquit.

After raping and ravaging Iraq and millions of Iraqi citizens like Muntadar al-Zaidi, the least outgoing president Bush should do is exercise some benevolence by pressuring for the immediate release of this suffering journalist. Sure, in future press conferences, he could be required to check his shoes at the door, but exacting vengeance against him at this point does not serve anyone's interest.

Bush has to begin to face the music: his war actions and decisions have been not only unpopular but downright criminal. He has caused infinitely more harm to the Iraqi people than any injury al-Zaidi might have inflicted to him. Nevertheless, I am gratified that the shoes did not hit him. If they did, the consequences would have been uglier for all sides.

As President Bush is getting ready to pardon some notorious war criminals like Donald Rumsfeld (and if that is indeed the case, he might as well pardon himself and Dick Cheney), we hope that he's retained along with his reflexes a modicum of decency to urge for the immediate release of his previously unknown victim.

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Post by Leoneljb » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:58 pm

Well showed one thing, He was prepared for something like that. Because, I was surprised of his reflexes!!!
Anyway, I was appalled to this guy's lack of Professionalism. And, I think that is not something that one can applaud.
I spoke to a few people who really believed that He (GW) deserve that kind of treatment. But, I don't think it's appropriate like I told them: what if it was Obama?
Not punishing this "Shoe Thrower" would send the wrong signal for further or future "Wannado".
I think that beside everything else, Bush is still the President of the US. And everyone needs to show him some respect.-

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Post by Guysanto » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:16 pm

I do not applaud the journalist's action, but I do understand it. I cannot trivialize his own life's experiences. Respect should be mutual. Justice also cannot be one-sided. If you were in the guy's shoes, you too might have behaved the same way, if you had the balls to do what he did in the first place. He had to have known that he could easily have been killed. This guy has faced death threats, torture, kidnapping, jailing, and he has seen friends and family members killed in the name of a "pre-emptive" war of choice. Though I may condemn his action and feel good that the shoes did not meet their objective, I absolutely cannot wish the guy any physical harm in return.

Not punishing the "shoe thrower" shows a certain level of magnanimity. Of course, you would not be stupid enough to let it happen again. Security practices are very adaptive. The Secret service WILL do a better job in the future, I assure you.

Brutalizing the journalist, on the other hand, definitely sends the wrong signal... and invites more serious attempts from the tens of thousands who genuinely see him as a hero.

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Post by Guysanto » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:58 pm


Precedent for the shoe-throwing protest ... shoe-zaidi

Al-Zaidi may have been beaten for his outburst at George Bush, but Iraqi journalists are entitled to righteous indignation.

o Jonathan Steele
o, Tuesday 16 December 2008

Muntadhar al-Zaidi will go down in Arab folklore as the man who dared to throw his shoes at George Bush but his immediate problem is how to recover from the reprisals he suffered after his bold gesture. His older brother, Dargham, has told reporters Muntadhar suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, and is in hospital.

If true, the reports confirm what the TV clips shown on the Guardian's website in the aftermath of the incident seemed to suggest. A number of Western news reports referred to Zaidi as "screaming" while he was taken out of the press conference room. They gave the impression he was ranting at Bush. The soundtrack hinted otherwise. It contained a series of agonised yelps and grunts, as of a man being repeatedly kicked and thumped. By then, Zaidi was on the floor, and cameras could not catch him in the melee. But listen to the message of the microphones. It seems to tell a vicious tale.

Who was doing the punching, if that is what it was? Was it Iraqi security men or Bush's bodyguards from the US Secret Service? Either way, whatever brutality it is now alleged was meted out to Zaidi far outweighs the violence involved in his gesture. This will only serve to add to Zaidi's status, making him a martyr as well as a hero in large sections of the Arab world, where commentators have been vying with superlatives to describe his action.

The judicial fate that befalls him will also play a role. Will he receive a prison sentence, or released after a few hours, as tends to happen to protesters who throw eggs or tomatoes at politicians in western countries? The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has condemned Zaidi's action as an insult to a foreign guest, but Maliki – who, of course, has no influence over Iraqi's independent prosecution service – must know that a harsh sentence will only damage his own new-found reputation as the nationalist who managed to get Bush to agree to a withdrawal timetable.

Zaidi's coup de théâtre was imaginative, but his readiness to disrupt a high-level US press conference in Baghdad was not unique for an Iraqi journalist. I will never forget the one Colin Powell gave on March 19 2004. As the then US secretary of state took his place at the podium in the Green Zone's convention centre, Najim al-Rubaie from the newspaper Al-Dustour rose to his feet and read a statement: "We declare our boycott of this press conference because of the martyrs. We declare our condemnation of the incident which led to two journalists being killed by American forces."

Around 30 other Iraqi and Arab journalists then stood up and followed Rubaie out of the hall. In silence, we watched them leave, as stunned as Powell. It was the bravest collective action I have ever seen a group of journalists take. I have attended press conferences in several dozen countries where reporters – at least, not the lapdog ones – compete with each other in the usual macho way to ask officials tough questions. A collective protest, and taking a stand on an issue? It never happens.

The protest that day in 2004 was over the shooting of a reporter and his cameraman from the Al-Arabiya TV station. They had been driving up to investigate a suicide bomb several minutes after it exploded, but were gunned down by nervous US soldiers at a Baghdad checkpoint. They were not the first reporters to be killed by the Americans in the year after the invasion, so their colleagues' indignation was not a sudden flare-up; it was more like a slow burn.

Presumably, that was the case with Zaidi. Several dozen more journalists have died in the line of duty in Iraq since 2004. You can see why any journalist would be angry. There's no other profession that allows a person close and regular access to the world's top decision-makers in a context that permits plain speaking. Add to that the perpetual daily tension of life in Iraq, the bereavement which so many Iraqis have suffered in their own families, and the humiliation which being occupied by foreign troops causes on a constant basis, the surprise is that it has taken so long for an Iraqi journalist to throw a shoe.

* © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

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New claims of Iraqi journalist torturing

Post by Guysanto » Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:42 am

New claims of Iraqi journalist torturing
23/12/2008 02:09:00 PM GMT

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush has been severely tortured, one of his brothers says.

Uday made the remark on Monday after he visited his brother, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in prison for the first time on Sunday.

"I met my brother for around an hour. He has been tortured while in detention for 36 hours continuously. He has been hit with iron rods and cables," Uday told AFP.

"There is very severe bleeding in his eye, and he has bruises on his feet and nose, and he was also tortured with electric shocks," he added.

Last week, al-Zaidi, a correspondent for the al-Baghdadiya TV channel, threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. The reporter was arrested and frogmarched out of the building by security officials.

Uday also said that his brother was forced to sign a statement confessing to receiving money from different groups and saying that he did not throw his shoes for the honor of Iraq.

Meanwhile, the White House shrugged off the torture reports of the Iraqi journalist in prison.

"He's in the hands of the Iraqi system. I don't have anything more on the shoe-thrower," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

When asked if the White House was concerned about reports that the Iraqi journalist showed signs of having been tortured, the spokesman said, "I think that's been explored extensively and I have nothing new for you."

This is while Iraqi investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani rejected the torture allegations and said 'the investigation phase is over'.

Al-Zaidi is expected to face trial on Wednesday, Dec. 31, after he failed to appear for a hearing in court last Wednesday. Reports say that his absence in court was due to severe beatings.

-- Press TV


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