A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Iraq court delays trial of shoe-throwing journalist

[JURIST] The Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) [establishment order, PDF] on Tuesday postponed the trial of Muntadhar al-Zaidi [BBC profile], the journalist accused of throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush [official website]. The trial will resume after the Iraqi High Judicial Council determines whether al-Zaidi should be charged with "assaulting a foreign leader," a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or the lesser crime of "insulting a foreign leader," punishable by a no more than three years in prison. Lawyers for Al-Zaidi sought to have the crime downgraded, arguing that Bush was not put in real danger by the incident. Zaidi's family members, Iraqi protesters, and advocacy group Codepink [press release] have called for his pardon and release. A date for a ruling on the charges against al-Zaidi has not been set.

Those opposed to al-Zaidi's trial have criticized the CCCI for failing to meet international standards of fairness and due process [HRW report], and have alleged that al-Zaidi was beaten while in custody [JURIST report]. There have also been allegations that a purported apology letter from al-Zaidi had been forged [CBS report]. The shoe-throwing incident occurred at a December 14 joint news conference where Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki [BBC profile] were discussing the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF; CFR backgrounder].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.