The Iraqi journalist who made headlines around the world when he threw his shoes at president Bush has gone on trial in Baghdad.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, whose protest overshadowed Bush’s final visit to Iraq in December, also called the US leader a dog – both insults in the Middle East. He faces 15 years in jail. “We are expecting a positive verdict and the release of Muntazer al-Zaidi,” said his brother in Baghdad. “This is what we want from the judges. If the Iraqi judiciary is a politicised one, he will lose. But thank God, our courts are independent and fair.” But on the streets of Bagdad, some see his behaviour as insulting. “What we want is a fair trial. What he did was wrong because the prime minister was there (when he threw his shoes at Bush) and Bush was our guest,” said one man. Al-Zaidi, a reporter for an Iraqi television station based in Cairo, became a hero across much of the Middle East after throwing his shoes at the US president during a press conference in December.