jailed Iraqi television reporter, Muntadhar Al-Zeidi who grabbed
world headlines last year for throwing his shoes at the former U.S.
President, George Bush, has been released.
30-year-old Al-Zeidi who was warmly received outside jail said later
at a press conference on Tuesday that his freedom could be
short-lived as he feared for his life at the hands of American
fearsome services, the U.S. intelligence services and its affiliated
services, will spare no efforts to track me as an insurgent
revolutionary ... in a bid to kill me,” he said. “And here I want to
warn all my relatives and people close to me that these services
will use all means to trap and try to kill and liquidate me either
physically, socially or professionally.”
Al Zaidi also
alleged of torture and beating while in custody. "Iraqi security
forces also beat me, held my head under water to simulate drowning,
then left me in the cold all night in the 24 hours after my arrest
in December", Al-Zaidi said while speaking to reporters.
"At the same time
Iraqi Prime Minister (Nuri al-Maliki) was saying he would not sleep
until he made sure I was safe, I was being tortured in all sorts of
ways," Al-Zaidi said.
"I demand an
apology from al-Maliki for hiding the truth about my torture in
custody," he said.
had a scarf in the colours of the Iraqi national flag draped around
his neck. At one time during his interaction with the media, he
said: “I am free again, but my homeland is still a prison.”
his colleagues at the Al-Baghdadiya television and some Iraqi
parliamentarians who had been supporting him received Al-Zeidi.
brother Uday Al-Zeidi said: “I wish Bush could see our happiness.
When President Bush looks back and turns the pages of his life, he
will see the shoes of Muntadher Al-Zeidi on every page.”
had been initially sentenced to three years for assaulting a foreign
head of state, but his jail term was reduced to one year upon
appeal. He was released three months earlier on grounds of good
became a celebrity in the region overnight after he threw his shoes
at former US President George Bush on December 14 last year and
accompanied his footwear assault with the shout: “This is a goodbye
kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the
orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”
has reportedly been flooded with offers of money, jobs and marriage
from across the region. His relatives claim the Emir of Qatar has
even offered Mr. Al-Zeidi a golden horse as gift for his symbolic
but uniquely powerful form of protest.