Judge Reduces Shoe-Thrower's Sentence by Two Years

By Ernesto LondoƱo and Qais Mizher
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BAGHDAD, April 7 -- A judge reduced the sentence of an Iraqi journalist convicted of assaulting President George W. Bush last December by throwing his shoes at him, from three years to one, the man's relatives said Tuesday.

Muntadar al-Zaidi, an obscure broadcast journalist who gained wide recognition in the Arab world when he lashed out at Bush during his last visit to Iraq, was convicted last month of assaulting a visiting head of state.

The trial followed the Dec. 14 news conference in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone during which Zaidi flung his leather shoes at the president as he screamed: "This is your farewell kiss, you dog!"

Because Zaidi spent nearly five months behind bars before his conviction, he could be released as early as this fall, his brother, Dirgham al-Zaidi said.

The judge's decision came after Muntadar al-Zaidi's lawyers filed a motion appealing the sentence.

Zaidi said during his trial that the gesture was the product of years of anger over the violent aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The reporter for al-Baghdadia, a Cairo-based satellite channel, hails from Sadr City, a district in eastern Baghdad where animosity toward the United States is widespread.

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