April 7th, 2009
09:10 AM ET
14 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He lives in a democracy now. If he would've did that to Saddam.....well, you know the rest.

    April 7, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Cori

    I'm glad his sentence was reduced. He shouldn't have served time at all. Bush deserved more than shoes being thrown at him. What the reporter did was what millions of people globally would have loved to do. The harm that Bush has created in the world doesn't even compare to what the reporter did. Bush should have been arrested for crimes against humanity!

    April 7, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Saad

    This is very tricky situation. For everything that President Bush and his administration did to our country and to the rest of the world, anyone who throws a shoe should get a medal and not a sentence. But the problem is that Bush himself was NOT a bad person. He really was not. He was a good man at heart – just incapable.

    On the other hand, if someone was to throw a shoe or even slap evils like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove etc, the person should be given millions of dollars not just a medal and definitely not a sentence.

    Very tricky situation indeed.

    April 7, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. me

    Part of me wants to say "Hey! That's our President! Show respect!" Then I remember it was Bush.

    The guy crossed the line into unprofessionalism. However, given that Bush did destroy his country, he could be eligible for temporary insanity.

    He should be punished for disrespect and being rude to a guest, but it should be lenient.

    April 7, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. TLB

    Let's see. Bush got thousands of Americans killed, tens of thousands of Iraqi's killed, wasted hundreds of billions of US money, invaded a foreign country on highly suspect WMD intelligence (source codename= "Curveball"), and plunged Iraq into a civil war. All those "accomplishments" while Iran and North Korea were actively pursuing WMD's and the Bush admin did nothing. One shoe thrown compared to all that stupidity? Let the man go.

    April 7, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Homer

    If he would have hit Mr. Bush he would have gotten off scott free. He needs to practice and remember,allow for windage and elevation.

    April 7, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Ken in NC

    I have never been a supporter of former President Bush but he deserved more respect than he was given in his last trip to Iraq. What the reporter there did constituted an assault under our rules of law and under our rules he should have been charged, tried and if found guilty, he should have been sentenced accordingly. Under Iraq law this was done. I do not agree with the length of the sentence given him but he was sentenced under the laws of Iraq and not the USA.

    April 7, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Swishhhh

    too bad he missed

    April 7, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Oregon calling

    Time Served, Enough said

    Peace 🙂

    April 7, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Duck and Cover

    The guy should spend his entire 3 years in prison for having a lousy aim

    April 7, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. jb in sd

    Shane, let's see if you can restrain yourself if placed in that position should the US be reduced to rubble by a foreign army.

    April 7, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. To Shane

    @shane April 7th, 2009 11:06 am ET
    I don't care how unpopular Bush was at the time a journalist needs to be able to separate his personal feelings from covering the news. You will never hear an american journalist behaves this way.. He should spend the entire three years in prison this sends. a very bad signal.
    Imagine if it were us. We were "occupied" by a foreign nation lead by a smug looking ignoramus who is constantly in a frat boy mentality. And your friends, family, and neighbors were displaced or injured or even killed. And then this leader comes into our country later to do a press conference all proud of himself with no remorse for how effed up he's left your beloved country. After about 5 years of this... I wouldn't put it past one of our journalists to possibly act out the same way or in a similar way either.

    April 7, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Lori

    Perhaps if this guy threw his shoe and it hit its target 9 years ago it might have knocked some sense into Idiot Boy and this country wouldn't be in the mess it's in right now. I say we all throw a shoe at our Republican congressmen to make up for it!

    April 7, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    the man should be knighted....

    April 7, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Douglas M, Taylor

    I think we should erect a Texas sized "shoe" statue honoring Muntadhar al-Zaidi in Crawford, Texas.

    April 7, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Bob the Observer

    The shoe-thrower is a jerk and an idiot. He threw a shoe at my president, and I wish him the same punishment that I would wish if he threw one at Barack Obama.

    I cannot believe the idiots that actually applaud someone throwing a shoe at our own president - any president.

    Is our nation really that childish and uneducated? Or is it just the people that have no jobs and lots of free time to post in this forum?

    April 7, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. will

    Well, there is one positive thing that came out of the shoe throwing incident. George Bush FINALLY found the weapons of mass distruction or should I say weapons of mass distraction!

    April 7, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. phoenix86

    I'm sure if someone throws a shoe at Obama that he will also be hailed as some kind of a hero by the people posting on this blog.

    April 7, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. The black Spider

    @ bob the Observer

    Do you really think someone will throw a shoe at Obama? I haven't seen that yet in the multiple press conference or town hall meeting he had during his european tour.

    April 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    Bob , you missed the point......it was not the 'shoe' itself...it was the man's ability to express his frustration. Just as you have the right to do so on this blog. He didn't hurt the President, he embarassed his government so this sentance is just. Pres. Bush stated he wanted them free...and this is part of freedom..the right to express oneself.
    He's not a hero for himself, but the ideology of expressing frustration.

    April 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Chut Pata

    What a disappointment. The court should have increased the sentence to 5 year in solitary confinement for him missing the target ... twice!!

    April 7, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Rafael VA

    He should be hang! I do not care how much we hate George Bush you just don't do that. Finding an excuse to justify it is as grave of a crime. If someone did that to Obama they would want him hung as well. Funny that lately the most anti-American spew is coming from America itself. Shame on us... If you hate America move to Iraq or somewhere else...

    April 7, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Peter E

    We are being VERY lenient towards this shoe-thrower. If he threw the shoe at any other world leader, or even his own Iraqi leaders, he'd have been shot on the spot!

    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. jimgpa

    He should have gotten ten years for missing...Had he actually hit him I would agree with the reduced sentence..

    April 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. mary dale

    He should have to serve no time. He was right to throw the show at Bush in protest of his murder of thousands of innocent Iraqis. I hope his year flies and when he gets out, he is not stigmatized.

    April 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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