IFJ wants journalist who attacked Bush released

December 16th, 2008 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 16 (IANS) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says the Iraqi reporter who threw shoes at US President George Bush over America’s role in Iraq should be set free. His protest, said the IFJ, reflected deep anger at the treatment of Iraqi civilians during the US occupation over the past four years of which journalists have been major victims.

Muntadar al-Zeidi, correspondent for Iraqi-owned Al-Baghdadiya television, hurled shoes at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.

The action was a symbolic gesture of distaste at US policy — showing the soles of your shoes is regarded as a form of disrespect in Iraq and many Asian societies.

“This journalist was expressing his own deeply felt views and we cannot condone his actions,” said Aidan White, the IFJ general secretary.

“But after years of intimidation, mistreatment and unsolved killings at the hands of US soldiers, it is no surprise that there is anger and resentment among journalists.”

It is no coincidence that the protest comes only days after the US refused to release a detained journalist, despite an Iraqi court order that he should be set free, IFJ pointed out.

“When the US appears to defy the rule of law in Iraq, it is no surprise that journalists will look to other ways to make their protest over injustice,” said White.

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