March 12th, 2009
01:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Shoe-throwing journalist sentenced to 3 years in prison

TV reporter Muntadher al-Zaidi, shown in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.
TV reporter Muntadher al-Zaidi, shown in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Muntadher al-Zaidi, the man seen as a hero in some circles for throwing his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday by an Iraqi court.

Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in December in Baghdad.

Neither shoe hit the president, and other people in the room quickly knocked al-Zaidi to the ground before security officials arrested him.

Family members and journalists were cleared from the courtroom before Thursday's verdict.

After news of the verdict reached family members, al-Zaidi's brother appeared close to fainting. Other family members were seen crying and shouting curses about al-Maliki and Bush.

Al-Zaidi was a journalist who worked for the television network al-Baghdadia. The network also called for his release shortly after the incident.

He explained his actions during an hourlong appearance last month in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. Asked whether anyone pushed or motivated him, al-Zaidi said he was spurred by the "violations that are committed against the Iraqi people."

In the Middle East, throwing shoes at someone is traditionally a sign of contempt.

Al-Zaidi's angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero, and demonstrators took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release shortly after the incident.

Full story


Filed under: Iraq • President George W. Bush
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Atlanta's Own

    This guy should get the gold star, medal of honor, purple heart or something. He only did what millions of people in the U.S. wanted to do for years. Bush was a tyrant and should have caught one of those size 10 Reeboks in the face.

    March 12, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Brian, California

    Dear Friend,

    I admire your courage and your great heart. You are my hero. I wish I could shake hand with you and share a smile with you.

    HISTORY WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR BRAVERY!

    March 12, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. jimPNW

    THIS IS WHAT WE GAVE UP THOUSANDS OF LIVES AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FIGHTING FOR?AND FOR ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SAY ' WHAT IF SADDAM WAS STILL THERE'. A CLUE:
    WE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
    AND FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BAD TALK OBAMA , ITS YOUR RIGHT, BUT MAYBE GIVE HIM 8 YEARS TO FIX WHAT BUSH SCREWED UP BEFORE YOU POP OFF, OH I FORGOT, YOU WANT HIM TO FAIL.......

    March 12, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. California Gold

    After this incident our local government board of supervisors experienced citizens tossing shoes at the dais during a hotly debated, divisive matter up for debate. The media had pictures of all sorts of shoes tossed in front of the Board of Supervisors. This went on for hours. Now no one threw shoes at their heads, but it was amazing to witness the act of solidarity of the citizens. The message of rejection of the governing body was spot on.

    March 12, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Rick

    It never ceases to amaze me what empty-headed hypocrites democrats are.

    March 12, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. California Gold

    After this incident our local government board of supervisors experienced citizens tossing shoes at the dais during a hotly debated, divisive matter up for debate. The media had pictures of all sorts of shoes tossed in front of the Board of Supervisors. This went on for hours. Now no one threw shoes at their heads, but it was amazing to witness the act of solidarity of the citizens. The message of rejection of the governing body was spot on.

    March 12, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. California Gold

    After this incident our local government board of supervisors experienced citizens tossing shoes at the dais during a hotly debated, divisive matter up for debate. The media had pictures of all sorts of shoes tossed in front of the Board of Supervisors. This went on for hours. Now no one threw shoes at their heads, but it was amazing to witness the act of solidarity of the citizens. The message of rejection of the governing body was spot on.

    March 12, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. California Gold

    After this incident our board of supervisors experienced citizens tossing shoes at the dais during a hotly debated, divisive matter. The media had pictures of all sorts of shoes tossed in front of the Board of Supervisors. This went on for hours. Now no one threw shoes at their heads, but it was amazing to witness the act of solidarity of the citizens. The message of rejection of the governing body was spot on.

    March 12, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Markus

    Hey AndyL-

    It's Bush's fault (and the Republicans ever since Reagan that pushed for less regulation and more greed) that we're in this mess, not Obama. So don't blame him for trying to fix it.

    March 12, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Dan, KCMO

    What a rediculous sentence!! Still one of the funniest things I've ever seen!

    March 12, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Freed_From_W

    This man should be given a medal.

    March 12, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. susan

    What a vicious and inappropriate sentence for throwing a shoe that never hit anyone!
    No wonder he is a hero to the Arab world.

    March 12, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. yousuf

    I am proud of this man, because Bush was an idiot...he deserved shoe slapping.

    But think about it, if this man did this under saddam hussain...this guy would have been executed.....

    March 12, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Chas

    This man should be given a medal not a prison sentence!

    March 12, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Rob

    If they really wanted to get this guy good they should have had the DNC coem up with a billboard to go up in the town where this guy lives. That would have really shown him.

    That DNC, man, they is gangsta.

    March 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. SoCalGal

    If they wish to be taken seriously on the global front, the perp needs to take his licks. Otherwise, only the backwardness of the country will be center stage.

    March 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Cali Girl

    OMG! 3 years for what? He only did what 73% of the American population wanted to do.

    Hopefully as far as Muntadher al-Zaidi is concerned, the crime may definately be worth the time.

    March 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Real Change

    I'd do three years if I got two whacks at W. with a shoe.

    March 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. Andy

    Commute his sentence to time served and let him serve the remainder doing community service in Baghdad.

    March 12, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Cali Girl

    David in Houston March 12th, 2009 2:18 pm ET

    Three years for throwing a shoe…and Bush got how many years for throwing our country?
    ____________________________________________

    LOL!!! That's right!!! Good question David in Houston.

    Bush and his croanies should be boarding a plane headed for the Hague right this very moment.

    March 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Some Guy

    Saddam Hussein was a brutal, evil dictator who deserved to be taken down. But seriously, was that our job?

    March 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. 4 and No More

    Its amazing to me how unpatriotic many of these posting liberals are. This guy made a physical attack on the sitting elected leader of our country and some of you traitors cheer him on. It's pathetic to see.

    March 12, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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