Iraqi who threw shoes at Bush freed from jail
Baghdad, September 15, 2009
An Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at then US President George Bush was released from prison on Tuesday, his brother said.
Muntazer Al-Zaidi, whose act during a news conference last December chimed with the feelings of many Iraqis towards the former US leader, was met outside the jail by parliamentarians who support his case, brother Uday Al-Zaidi said.
"He left the jail a few minutes ago and now he's on his way to Baghdadiya TV," Uday said referring to the television channel where his brother worked.
Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in jail for assaulting a visiting head of state, but his sentence was later reduced to one year.
An Iraqi court ordered Al-Zaidi's release on Monday because under Iraqi law all prisoners sentenced to one year without previous convictions and who show good behaviour automatically get out after serving three quarters of it.
Millions of people across the world saw online or TV footage of Al-Zaidi throwing his shoes at Bush and calling him a "dog," both insults in the Middle East. It caused huge embarrassment to Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, who was stood beside him during the conference.
But many viewers, including in the United States, applauded his bravery. Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez called him courageous. Fathers from other Arab nations have offered Muntazer their daughters as brides. - Reuters