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Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at President George W Bush reportedly injured in custody

Shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist reportedly injured in custody
The brother of Muntazer al-Zaidi, a TV reporter from al-Baghdadiya who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush, displays his picture during an interview with Reuters in his apartment in Baghdad December 15, 2008.Photo: Reuters / Atef Hassan

The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush was hit on the head with a rifle butt and had an arm broken in chaotic scenes when he was leapt on by Iraqi security officers, his brother said Tuesday.

According to Reuters, TV reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi, who called Bush a "dog" at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday, was in a hospital in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, his brother Maitham al-Zaidi said.

"All that we know is we were contacted yesterday by a person—we know him—and he told us that Muntadar was taken on Sunday to Ibn-Sina hospital," Maitham al-Zaidi said. "He was wounded in the head because he was hit by a rifle butt, and one of his arms was broken."

The brother declined to identify the source of the information and his comments could not be independently verified. Asked about the brother's remarks, various Iraqi officials denied having responsibility for the case.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi military said the journalist was in good health and the allegations were untrue, BBC reported. It is unclear whether the reporter may have been injured when he was wrestled to the floor at the news conference, or at a later point.

The incident has catapulted al-Zaidi to sudden fame in the Middle East and created a dilemma for Iraq's Prime Minister as thousands of people took to the streets for the second day on Tuesday to support al-Zaidi and demand his release from detention.

Al-Zaidi was initially held by the prime minister's guards and later turned over to the Iraqi army's Baghdad command. The command, in turn, handed him over to the judiciary, an official told the Associated Press (AP). The official would not elaborate, but referring the case to the judiciary usually signals the beginning of a lengthy process that could end in a criminal trial. Cases referred to the judiciary are given to a judge who reviews the evidence and recommends whether to hold a trial or release the defendant.

Earlier, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Abdul-Karim Khalaf said al-Zaidi could face charges of insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi prime minister, who was standing next to Bush when the shoes were thrown. The offense carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Date posted: December 16, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 313