Man Gets 3 Years for Throwing Shoe (In Iraq. At the President.)

Here’s a criminal statute we can only hope the Iraqis needn’t use often: “Assaulting a Foreign Leader.”

On Thursday, a three-judge panel found Muntadhar al-Zeidi guilty of that very crime, following what may be the most notorious shoe attack the world has ever known. On Dec. 14, he hurled his size 10s at our former commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, and called him a “dog.” (Photo at left by AP.)

Bush’s reflexes, you may recall, were actually rather catlike, dodging with ease al-Zeidi’s shoe bullets. He also played off the incident brilliantly: “If you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe that he threw,” he joked.

Here’s my question: does three years in prison fit the crime?

He’d faced up to 15 years, but the court apparently went lighter due to his lack of a criminal record. But that wasn’t good enough for his own attorneys, who said his lashing out was covered under free speech. Al-Zeidi told the panel his actions were a “natural response to the occupation.”

More from the CBC:

“Al-Zeidi’s defence team had argued their client’s actions were protected by free speech and the charge was not applicable because Bush was not in Baghdad on an official visit, arriving unannounced and without an invitation.”

Apparently, Iraqi lawyers are coy and creative like their American counterparts.

One thought on “Man Gets 3 Years for Throwing Shoe (In Iraq. At the President.)

  1. Three years sounds about right! Here in the U.S. I’m sure it would have cost him a lot more, on top of his injuries. Plus he’d be in a U.S. federal prison. I don’t know if he’d be a celebrity afterwards, though. I think his chance of a pardon is pretty good in Iraq.

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