April 7th, 2009
09:10 AM ET
5 years ago

Court reduces sentence for Iraqi shoe-thrower


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Iraq's federal appeals court has reduced the sentence for the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then-President Bush at a news conference in December, his lawyer told CNN on Tuesday.


Muntadhar al-Zaidi now will serve one year in jail instead of three, the attorney said. Bush was able to duck, and was unhurt in the incident.

Iraq's Central Criminal Court sentenced al-Zaidi to three years in March after he was found guilty of assaulting a foreign head of state on an official visit to Iraq. It was Bush's last visit to Baghdad before leaving office in January.

Al-Zaidi's lawyer, Dhiaa al-Saadi, said the appeals court announced its decision to reduce the sentence Monday, after lawyers appealed the criminal court ruling.

Al-Baghdadia TV, where the 30-year-old al-Zaidi works, has been broadcasting a bulletin announcing the reduced sentence.

In many traditional Middle East circles, throwing shoes at someone is considered a grave insult.

Al-Zaidi became a kind of hero after his actions, because of Bush's unpopularity - mainly as a result of the Iraq War. Expressing their own freedom on Facebook, a worldwide fan base rose up. Supporters formed hundreds of fan pages and groups, including one called the "Shoe-Throwing Appreciation Society."


Filed under: Iraq • President George W. Bush
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Rob Johnson

    Sounds like my letter writing campaign must have worked ;)

    As I explained to the Iraqi judge, there are plenty of Americans like myself who would enjoy throwing a shoe at Bush, but we just never got within shoe-throwing distance.

    It's not like a shoe is a deadly weapon, for crying out loud. This was obviously a symbolic show of disapproval, not a serious attempt to hurt anybody.

    April 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Roland

    My Ex-Wife hit me in the head with a shoe one time, it sure did straighten me out. It's to bad the guy didn't brain him with that shoe, although Bush seemed to be enjoying himself at the time. Honestly the guy that threw that shoe should be given an award something like a Media Golden Shoe Award. If nothing else I sure did get a big laugh over the last 8 years and I will miss old Georgie Boy I sure did get a kick out of him and his other cast of characters their at the White House. Some day MADD Magazine will dedicate a whole issue toward that administration.

    April 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Freed_From_W

    I'd like to buy this man a beer someday. The only thing that would have made that any better was if he had stepped in dog droppings on the way into the conference.

    Give the man a medal!!!

    April 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Mike from Vancouver BC

    How much jail time would he have got if he threw a pie?

    April 7, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Don Peters

    Who got hurt by the flying shoe? Nobody. Bring this guy to the USA and watch the hero welcome he receives. Bush got off easy.

    April 7, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Pepou

    Bush should be in jail for life, not this hero !

    April 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. jt

    To all the GOP memebers those who are posting negative comment about Obama look thats your President Bush , and you all should be very proud of him. what a jerk. so, refreshing he's gone after ruling 8 years of dictatorship and creating mess and choas in and around the world, war, economic crisis, the worst President in history Bush.

    April 7, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. DH in MD

    It doesn't matter where or to whom it happened, attempted assault is still a crime. By US justice standards he could have gotten a 3 to 10 year sentence and, if his lawyer was good, it would have been reduced to time served. In all fairness the guy got what he deserved.

    I must admit, I snickered when it happened but I wouldn't exactly elevate him to hero status. There are others more deserving.

    April 7, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. TA

    I loved it!
    He doesn't deserve to be jailed.

    April 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Bob

    I always wonder if the people posting here that wished this journalist had hit GWB would have the same feelings if it were Obama? Lets remember folks, like him or not, GWB was the President. Lets drop all of the hatred shall we?

    April 7, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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