Iraq’s federal appeals court has reduced the sentence for the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then-President Bush at a news conference in December, his lawyer told CNN on Tuesday.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi will serve one year in jail instead of three, the attorney said. Bush was able to duck, and was unhurt in the incident. Iraq’s Central Criminal Court sentenced al-Zaidi to three years in March after he was found guilty of assaulting a foreign head of state on an official visit to Iraq. It was Bush’s last visit to Baghdad before leaving office in January. Al-Zaidi’s lawyer, Dhiaa al-Saadi, said the appeals court announced its decision to reduce the sentence Monday, after lawyers appealed the criminal court ruling. Al-Baghdadia TV, where the 30-year-old al-Zaidi worked, has been broadcasting a bulletin announcing the reduced sentence.
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In many traditional Middle East circles, throwing shoes at someone is considered a grave insult. Al-Zaidi became a kind of hero after his actions, because of Bush’s unpopularity, mainly as a result of the Iraq War. Expressing their freedom on Facebook, a worldwide fan base rose up. Supporters formed hundreds of fan pages and groups, including one called the “Shoe-Throwing Appreciation Society.”