The trial of the Iraqi journalist who won global fame for throwing his shoes at US president George Bush during a press conference has been postponed.
TV correspondent Muntadhar al-Zeidi’s trial on charges of assaulting a foreign leader was due to begin tomorrow.
But a spokesman for Iraq’s higher judicial court, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said today that the trial had been postponed indefinitely pending a high court ruling on what charges the journalist should face
Zaidi’s lawyer, Dhiya al-Saadi, told AFP that he had requested that the trial be cancelled because his client’s actions fell within his constitutional rights to express himself freely.
“Our appeal is based on the fact that Zaidi simply expressed his rejection of the occupation and the policy of repression against Iraqis,” he said.
“Zaidi’s action falls within the framework of freedom of expression.”
Al-Zeidi threw his shoes at Bush during a 14 December joint news conference with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki.
The gesture of contempt for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq made al-Zeidi a folk hero in Iraq and thousands of people have demonstrated for his release worldwide.
British journalists and peace activists wrote to the US Embassy in London calling for the release of Al-Zaidi, a correspondent for the Iraqi-owned al-Baghdadiya TV television station based in Cairo.