The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush was tortured into writing a letter of apology, his brother said today.
Muntazer al-Zaidi was wrestled to the ground after throwing his shoes during a news conference held by the US president and the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, on 14 December.
The investigating judge in the case said last week that Zaidi, who will stand trial on 31 December, was beaten around the face and eyes. Zaidi's brother, Uday, said the journalist suffered worse injuries, including a missing tooth and cigarette burns to his ears, and would sue.
In the interest of verity, al-Zaidi's brothers have previously said that he suffered a broken arm in jail, a statement that for whatever reason turned out to be false.
But what damage could possibly be done to the new Iraqi government and the United States when it comes to light that agents of the new regime tortured a journalist for a semi-violent, yet ultimately harmless gesture directed at the U.S. President? (After all, he's only being charged with "insulting a foreign leader" and not "attempted murder." My roommate points out that this may be one of the few brushes with reality ol' Dubya has ever been confronted with.) And how suspicious are Prime Minister Maliki's further statements regarding the "investigation"?:
Maliki said Zaidi admitted in the letter that a terrorist had induced him to throw the shoes. "He revealed … that a person provoked him to commit this act and that person is known to us for slitting throats," Maliki said, according to the prime minister's website. The alleged instigator was not named."A terrorist!" Golly!