Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008
The Iraqi journalist thrust to instant fame when he threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush will go on trial this month on charges that carry up to 15 years in jail, a judge said on Monday.
Investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani rejected new allegations by the journalist’s family that he had been tortured in custody, charges that were levelled after a brother was allowed a first prison visit.
“The investigation phase is over and the case has been transferred to the Central Criminal Court,” Kenani said. “The trial will start on Wednesday, December 31.”
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Muntazer al-Zaidi stands accused of “aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit,” an offence that carries a prison term of between five and 15 years under Iraqi law.
But the court could convict him of the lesser charge of “attempted aggression” which carries a prison term of one to five years.
Zaidi, 29, became a hero to many when he threw his shoes at Bush during the US president’s surprise visit to Iraq on December 14, an action considered a grave insult in the Arab world.
Kenani confirmed that Zaidi’s lawyer had lodged a complaint over his treatment and that a letter would be sent to the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to request that security guards be brought to justice.
This article was posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 5:36 am