New trial date for Iraqi journalist in shoe-throwing incident

A new trial date has been set for the Iraqi television journalist who threw his shoes at then-US president George Bush.

A spokesman for the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said Muntadhar al-Zeidi will face the court on 19 February on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader.

Al-Zeidi has been in custody since the 14 December outburst at Bush’s joint news conference with Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki.

He had been due to face a trial in December on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader but his defence team won a delay. The defence wanted to reduce the charges to simply insulting Bush.

But Bayrkdar said the charge of assaulting a foreign leader will stand.

British journalists and peace activists wrote to the US Embassy in London shortly before Christmas, calling for the release of Al-Zaidi, a correspondent for the Iraqi-owned al-Baghdadiya TV television station based in Cairo.

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.

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