Do you remember that Iraqi guy who threw his shoes at President Bush? Remember how he was lauded as a national hero? Well, now he’s going to prison.
Muntader al-Zaidi, a journalist, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for the shoe throwing ordeal, charged with‚ aggression‚ towards a visiting head of state, a crime that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence in Iraq.
Zaidi pleaded not guilty before Judge Abdulamir Hassan al-Rubaie, arguing that in that one moment, he was overcome with a brutal passion as he remembered the scores of civilians that had been killed in his home land, all because of Bush.
“I am innocent. It was a natural reaction to the crime of occupation…In that moment, I saw nothing but Bush, and I felt the blood of the innocents flowing under his feet while he was smiling that smile” he said at the hearing, according to the New York Times.
The trial was set to take place a while ago, but was postponed while the judge took time to decide whether or not Bush’s trip to Iraq was an official visit. Since Bush spoke in the Green Zone which is controlled by American Military, it could be argued that his visit was not official. The judge however decided that the‚ visit was official.
Zaidi was tried, oddly, in Iraq’s Central Criminal Court, a court set aside for major cases including terrorism. Zaidi’s lawyers – all 18 of them – said they would appeal the decision.
As Zaidi, who has been in prison since the incident, approached the courthouse before his hearing, scores of followers greeted him outside chanting “hero.”
It’s clear the Iraqi people don’t like the ruling.