BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former President George W. Bush will be tried in two weeks, a spokesman for Iraq's Higher Judicial Council judge told CNN.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi faces charges of assaulting a foreign head of state on an official visit to Iraq. The trial is scheduled to begin on February 19, the spokesman for Judge Abdul Sattar al-Beeraqdar said.
Al-Zaidi has been detained for nearly two months and his appearance in court will mark the first time he has been seen in public since his arrest.
Al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at Bush in mid-December during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad. Neither shoe hit the president, and others in the room quickly knocked Al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.
By tradition, throwing a shoe is the most insulting act in the Arab world.
His angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.
In December, Al-Zaidi's defense team filed an appeal requesting the charge be changed from "assaulting" a head of state to "insulting." Al-Zaidi's chief defense attorney, Dhiyaa al-Saadi, said the appeals court ruling left it up to the court trying al-Zaidi - the Central Criminal Court of Iraq - to decide what charges he will be facing.
According to the Iraqi penal code, anyone who assaults a foreign head of state is punished by "imprisonment for a term of years," with the sentence length up to the court. Al-Saadi told CNN in December that his client could face 15 years in jail if convicted. On the other hand "insulting" a foreign head of state is punishable by a two year prison sentence and a fine.
Al-Saadi said he has been allowed only one meeting with his client, in December, during the nearly two months that al-Zaidi has been in custody.
Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail last month. One of his brothers told CNN he "in good health and is being treated well."
Al-Zaidi's employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.
–CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report