Bush shoe-thrower sentenced to three years in prison (Lead)

March 12th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, March 12 (Xinhua) An Iraqi court Thursday sentenced the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then US president George W. Bush to three years in prison.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi, 30, a reporter with Cairo-based Baghdadia Iraqi Television, pleaded not guilty at the Iraqi Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.

Muntadhar has been in custody after he threw his shoes at Bush during his joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad Dec 14, 2008.

Asked by Judge Abdul Amir Hassan al-Rubaie whether he was innocent, Zaidi immediately answered: “Yes… My reaction was natural, just like any Iraqi would have done.”

The court sentenced Zaidi for three years in jail for his assault on visiting President Bush.

In his previous appearance Feb 19, Muntadhar told the court that he could not control his emotions when he saw in front of him Bush, who ordered war on Iraq in 2003.

He also said that he was not trying to kill the US leader and that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was not target of the attack.

Diyaa al-Saadi, head of Muntadhar’s 25-lawyer defence team, said: “Muntadhar did not commit a homicide nor intend to commit one. He was only trying to express his rejection of the killing of his people.”

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