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Iraq shoe-throwing journalist released from prison

[JURIST] The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US president George W. Bush was released from prison Tuesday. Muntader al-Zaidi [BBC profile] was originally sentenced to three years on charges of assaulting a foreign leader but later had his sentence reduced [JURIST reports] to one year on a lesser charge of insulting a foreign leader. He was released after serving only nine months because of good behavior. Upon his release, al-Zaidi claimed that he was beaten with pipes and steel cables and that he received electric shocks during his first days in custody.

The shoe-throwing incident occurred at a December 14, 2008, joint news conference [transcript] at which Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] governing the future US military presence in the country. Al-Zaidi, who had allegedly suffered brutality first hand in Iraq having been kidnapped and released by Shiite militiamen in 2007 [WP report], testified before a three-judge panel that his actions were meant to restore Iraqi citizens' pride.

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