An Iraqi journalist who gained global notoriety for hurling his shoes at US President George W. Bush last December is seeking asylum in Switzerland.
Muntazer al-Zaidi went on trial on Thursday on charges of assaulting a head of state. He faces 15 years in jail. His appearance in a Baghdad courtroom triggered cheers and applause from friends and family in the audience, but after just 90 minutes, the trial was adjourned to mid-March. His lawyer welcomed the delay, saying it would be positive for his client’s case. The aim of the postponement is to ascertain whether Bush was on an official visit to Iraq or – as his client argues – whether Bush was there as an occupier under US military protection. Al-Zaidi, 30, was celebrated as a hero by many people opposed to the US-led invasion of Iraq. He has been in prison for more than two months – ever since the incident and his family claims he was beaten after his arrest.