The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US former president George W Bush went on trial amid high security today with his lawyers set to argue that the remarkable protest was lawful.
Muntazer al-Zaidi won global fame when his footwear whizzed past Bush’s head on December 14 as the then president was making a farewell visit to Iraq before leaving the White House.
The reporter faces up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty of assaulting a foreign leader,the charge levelled against him by prosecutors for the dramatic gesture that was hailed across the Arab world.
Zaidi arrived in the courtroom wearing an Iraqi-flag tied round his neck as a scarf,khaki-coloured jacket and a black shirt.
High security measures were in place,with cars being checked and all electronic equipment being taken off people heading into the hearing.
It is a historic test for the Iraqi justice system, one of the journalist’s brothers,Uday Zaidi,said outside the court.
If he is released it will show that the justice system is independent and he will be a hero. But if he is condemned it will bring shame on the system.”