- Title: IRAQ: Shoe thrower's lawyer says adjournment of trial is positive
- Date: 19th February 2009
- Summary: BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FEBRUARY 19, 2009) (REUTERS) CROWD OF PEOPLE GATHERING OUTSIDE COURT PEOPLE GATHERED AS MILITARY VEHICLE CARRYING MUNTAZER AL-ZAIDI ARRIVES AT COURT /SHOUTING AS PEOPLE GREET MUNTAZER PEOPLE GATHERING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GHLIB MOHAMMED , LAWYER FOR MUNTAZER AL-ZAIDI , SAYING "The adjournment will have an effect on the case because the court wants to achieve justice. The Iraqi judiciary is independent and no one can influence its decisions. Iraqi judges are known for their dignity." PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE COURT HELICOPTER OVERHEAD MILITARY VEHICLES DRIVING THROUGH STREET NEAR THE COURT
- Embargoed: 6th March 2009 12:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA2GDKMIQ0R2C1I5MLPGV4HFKK1
- Story Text: The trial of the the Iraqi journalist who became an icon for critics of the U.S.-led invasion when he hurled his shoes at former President George W. Bush was adjourned to March 12 on Thursday (February 19).
Journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi's defence lawyer Ghlib Mohammed said the adjournment of the case was positive and he stressed the independence of the Iraqi courts.
"The adjournment will have an effect on the case because the court wants to achieve justice. The Iraqi judiciary is independent and no one can influence its decisions. Iraqi judges are known for their dignity."
Zaidi appeared in court on Thursday and could face up to 15 years in prison.
Zaidi, whose shoe-throwing protest overshadowed Bush's final visit to Iraq in December and who also called the former U.S. leader a "dog"
-- both insults in the Middle East -- is charged with assaulting a visiting head of state.
Zaidi was handcuffed and surrounded by a pack of security guards when he was brought to Iraq's Central Criminal Court in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone ahead of what was expected to be the start of his trial.
When he appeared at the courthouse family members waiting for him ululated wildly and draped an Iraqi flag across his shoulders.
Zaidi has been imprisoned for more than two months and his family complained he was beaten after being pounced on by security guards at Bush's news conference.
The reporter for an Iraqi television station based in Cairo became a hero in much of the Middle East.
Bush, whose support of Israel and decision to invade Iraq in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein made him passionately disliked in many parts of the Middle East, nimbly ducked out of the way of the first shoe and made light of the incident afterwards.
Zaidi's defence lawyers lost an appeal to have the charges reduced to insulting Bush, a lesser offence. They argued he couldn't have truly hurt Bush with a shoe.
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