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article imageShoe-throwing Journalist suffers missing tooth, cigarette burns

By Chris V. Thangham     Dec 22, 2008 in World
The Iraqi journalist that caused a furor after he threw shoes at President George W. Bush was beaten severely and tortured into writing a letter of apology, according to his brother.
The Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi threw shoes at President George Bush and was immediately arrested and is currently facing long prison sentence.
After he was arrested, there were rumors that he was beaten severely by the arresting parties. His brother Uday al-Zaidi claims that Muntazar was beaten severely and is missing a tooth and had cigarette burns on his ears. Uday said his brother is planning to sue the police.
The investigating judge also verified the story that Muntazar was beaten immediately after the shoe-throwing incident.
President Maliki’s office earlier said that Muntazar wrote an apology letter and requested a pardon from Maliki. But Uday claims Muntazar was coerced into writing that letter and was also made to write that a known terrorist induced him to throw the shoes at Bush. But Maliki’s office didn’t reveal the third party involved or the contents in the letter.
Uday also added that his brother was tortured during his detention. He claims the police doused his brother with cold water in prison and forced him to write that letter.
Uday told AFP:
He told me that he has no regret because of what he did and that he would do it again...The thing that makes you cry and laugh at the same time is that when the prime minister said that that my brother was not tortured and will not be tortured, he was under severe torture by security authorities.
The trial is expected to begin on Dec. 31, 2008.
If the allegations are true, where is the promise of democracy in Iraq by the Bush administration? The journalist should be punished for throwing shoes at the President, but not through cigarette burns, black eye and missing tooth injuries.
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