Shoe-thrower fears for his life

2009-09-15 14:11
Muntadhar al-Zaidi speaks during a press conference after his release from a Baghdad prison. (Karim Kadim, AP)

Muntadhar al-Zaidi speaks during a press conference after his release from a Baghdad prison. (Karim Kadim, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baghdad - The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former President George W Bush was released on Tuesday after nine months in prison, and he said Iraqi security forces tortured him with beatings, whippings and electric shocks after his arrest.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, whose stunning act of protest last December made him a hero around the Arab and Muslim worlds, said he now feared for his life and believed that US intelligence agents would chase after him.

"These fearsome services, the US intelligence services and its affiliated services, will spare no efforts to track me as an insurgent revolutionary ... in a bid to kill me," he told a news conference at the TV station where he works.

"And here I want to warn all my relatives and people close to me that these services will use all means to trap and try to kill and liquidate me either physically, socially or professionally," he said, wearing a scarf in the colours of the Iraqi flag draped around his neck.

The 30-year-old reporter's act of protest deeply embarrassed Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, who was standing beside Bush at a December 14 news conference when al-Zeidi suddenly shot up from his chair had hurled his shoes toward the podium.

Bush, who was on his final visit to Iraq as American president, was unhurt but had to duck twice to avoid being hit.

Al-Zaidi was wrestled to the ground by journalists and al-Maliki's security men.

Names will be revealed

The reporter said on Tuesday that he was abused immediately after his arrest and the following day. He said he was beaten with iron bars, whipped with cords and was electrocuted in the backyard of the building in the Green Zone where the news conference was held.

"In the morning, I was left in the cold weather after they splashed me with water," he said.

He promised to reveal the names of senior officials in the Iraqi government and army who he said were involved in mistreating him.

An unrepentant al-Zaidi explained that his actions were motivated by the US occupation and said that while he is now free, his country is still "held captive".

"Simply put, what incited me toward confrontation is the oppression that fell upon my people and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by placing it under its boots," he said.

In January 2008, al-Zaidi was arrested by US soldiers who searched his apartment building and released him the next day with an apology.

The year before that, al-Zaidi, a Shi'ite, was kidnapped by gunmen while on an assignment in a Sunni district north of Baghdad. He was freed unharmed three days later after Iraqi television stations broadcast appeals for his release.

Those experiences, his family has said, helped mould his resentment of the US military's presence in Iraq.

Celebrations

Outside his home in central Baghdad, celebrations erupted at the news of his release, with women crying out and breaking into traditional Iraqi dances.

"I congratulate the Iraqi people and the Muslim world and all free men across the world on the release of Muntadhar," his brother Uday told a crowd of dozens of journalists and others. "Every time Bush turns a new page in his life he will find Muntadhar's shoes waiting for him."

Al-Zaidi's brother said the reporter will travel to Greece on Thursday for medical check-ups and because he had concerns about his safety.

"He fears for his life," Uday said, adding that he would sleep at an undisclosed location on Tuesday night.

Al-Zaidi's protest stirred millions across the Arab world who have been captivated and angered by images of destruction and grieving since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"This is your farewell kiss, you dog!" he shouted at Bush in Arabic as he hurled the shoes. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq," he continued.

For days, the scene was played endlessly on regional and international TV channels.

Al-Zaidi was to have been freed on Monday, but the release was held up for a day because of delays in processing paperwork.

After his release, al-Zaidi was driven first to the offices of Al-Baghdadiya, the TV station where he works. Later, he is expected to rejoin his family at their apartment in a rundown two-storey building in central Baghdad.


- AP
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Every man should be able to do these three things

They might seem basic, but can you do these three things?

 
 

Men24.com

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

24 hour sale – Up to 70% off

Its black Friday, save up to 70% on a wide range of awesome products at kalahari.com. Offers valid while stocks last. T&C’s apply. Shop now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.