Shoe-throwing journalist released from jail

muntadhar-al-zaidi-released-from jail

The Iraqi television reporter who threw his shoes at then-President George W. Bush in Baghdad last December was finally released on Tuesday after nine months in prison.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in jail for assaulting a head of state, but his penalty was later reduced to one year. According to local reports, he has been freed early because of good behavior.

Television footage showed the 30-year-old journalist, wearing a sash in the colors of the Iraqi flag around his shoulders, and sporting sunglasses and a thick beard, being escorted by dozens of his relatives and local media staff.

Around midday, al-Zaidi arrived at the headquarters of the al-Baghdadiyah channel in Baghdad, where he told a news conference that he was unapologetic for his act of protest and claimed that he had been tortured while in jail.

The throwing of shoes is considered a grave insult in the Arab world and al-Zaidi’s action embarrassed Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, who was standing beside the U.S. president as he hurled the footwear.