December 18th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
9 years ago

Shoe-thrower asks for leniency

Sympathizers of Iraqi TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi hold their shoes in the air while participating in a support rally.

Sympathizers of Iraqi TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi hold their shoes in the air while participating in a support rally.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The journalist who hurled his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush has described his attack as "ugly" and asked the Iraqi government for leniency.

A government spokesman confirmed Thursday that Muntadhar al-Zaidi penned a contrite handwritten letter to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki requesting compassionate treatment.

Yaseen al-Majeed, the prime minister's media adviser and spokesman, read CNN part of the letter, saying al-Zaidi describes what he did as "the great ugly act I perpetrated" and says an excuse would not be enough for that.

Al-Zaidi said he recalled interviewing al-Maliki in 2005, and al-Maliki had said to him "come in, this is your home, too."

Al-Majeed told CNN al-Zaidi asked al-Maliki for that same "fatherly compassion." The letter was received on Thursday but it was written at another time, al-Majeed said.

Asked if al-Maliki would consider exonerating him, al-Majeed said it is too early to talk about that because the case remains with the judicial authorities.

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Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. hitobito

    The man who threw his size 10s at GWB was expressing his outrage at the United States for invading his country and then failing to establish law and order. The Iraq war has endured longer than WWII and there are still major problems in iraq. This disaster will be the Bush legacy for many years to come.

    December 18, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Listen Up...

    Give him a break. Make him do penance in some way, but not years in jail.

    December 18, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. kasera


    December 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. payback

    I'm not a fan of "w". But he is the president. However, that being said if that reporter, had thrown his shoes at bush, after january 21, 2009. I would'nt have a problem with it.

    December 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. wait a minute

    It's quite true that one could have concealed explosives in a shoe and thrown it at others. It may explode on impact.

    Solutions for Obama's Iraqi visits: Make everyone leave their shoes outside of the room. What if a shoe is thrown towards our leader outdoors? How should our secret services respond? Shoot at the shoe in mid air or what? It's much more complicated than I thought.

    December 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Once you vote Black

    This guy lost his family, his job, and his country. Bush should pardon him. After all, he missed. Now I would not say that if it was Obama because Obama did not take us to a trumpt up war, destroy the face of the nation, and fail as a president. Some people need boots tossed at them, others do not.

    December 18, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Caligirl

    What is wrong with freedom of expression? That's all this reporter did. Hell we'd do the same if the tables were turned, wouldn't we? Bush and his administration acted like liars and pigs in this whole Iraq thing and should be treated as such. I'd love to throw my shoes at Bush as well, but I like my shoes.

    If Bush and Cheney are held accountable for their War Crimes and their crimes against humanity, as alot of us hope they are, they'll receive a lot worse than shoes being thrown at their heads.

    December 18, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Sow and Reap...

    Since the shoes didn't MUST acquit. In that lone action, the noble journalist merely summed up what countless people around the world truly think about Bush and his nonsensical administration.

    December 18, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. A Canuck

    They should bronze those shoes !!!

    December 18, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Caligirl

    @ Chris
    December 18th, 2008 1:57 pm ET

    Oh please FREE THE MAN!!!

    Well said. I couldn't agree more – Bravo!

    December 18, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Amber

    Better shoes than bombs...

    I think the best part about this whole fiasco is that it got more attention from the West than a year's worth of suicide bombers.

    Think on that for a moment: an incident of protest in the Middle East that didn't result in the deaths of anyone involved. The guy shouldn't spend any more than a few weeks in jail for what he did, if that.

    I think that this type of protest should be ENCOURAGED in a region where acts of protest are often bloody.

    December 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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