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Iraqi Shoethrower Sentenced To Three Year Prison Term

Muntathar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush during what was supposed to a press conference has been sentenced to three years in an Iraqi prison. The sentence drew some immediate outrage in Iraq as many Iraqi citizens have grown tired of the U.S. occupation of their country and the estimated 1,311,696 deaths that it has helped to cause.muntathar al-zeidi.jpg

Certainly, the actions of journalist al-Zaidi were an unacceptable example of political protest during the visit by a foreign head of state. The security of foreign heads of state must be completely assured, and any threats or actions against these heads of state is not acceptable in the least. President Bush should have had the complete assurance of his safety and the ability to deliver his statements without facing protests or actions by anyone that might have constituted some threat while in the supposed safety of a secure press conference. The actions of al-Zaidi were certainly a form of disorderly conduct, but in reality posed little real physical threat to the president. The three year sentence seems especially harsh in this light.

Further, the Iraqi jail and prison system is especially notorious for allowing torture, beatings and deaths to take place at hands of Iraqi militia members as well as guards. A three year prison sentence might just as well be a death sentence for this reporter.

Unfortunately, the Iraqi jail and prison system is probably about as honorable as the prison system of a terrible nation such as North Korea. And the justice system is about as fair as any kangaroo court system in some countries like North Korea as well.

On one hand, the Iraqi government needs to send a message that the security of foreign heads of state can be assured while in their country, but on the other hand the government of Iraq also needs to be fair in the administration of justice as well and set a tone that it is a better government than that of Saddam Hussein. But so far there's been little difference in the torture, abuse and death of prisoners between the two regimes. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

American comics like Jay Leno have had many laughs at the expense of this shoethrowing story. However, the three year sentence of this reporter could take a very tragic turn if he is killed in captivity by his jailers. Once again, Mideast justice is an embarrassment to the world community. Today's Iraqi justice and prison system is hardly an improvement over the old Saddam Regime in too many ways.


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Comments (4)

Chad:

If he'd have thrown that shoe at Saddam he'd have been run through a wood chipper already. I'd like to know where your 1,311,696 deaths estimate comes from. Which group did you get that from? Several groups showing similar figures have already been de-bunked. Most reliable estimates come in at the 225,000 to 275,000 range. This figure is of course after you delete armed insurgents from the total, many of which are foreigners who do not carry ID. Saddam Hussein routinely "disappeared" between 75,000 and 250,000 people per year. As far as the Iraqi justice and penal systems go, what do you expect from a place where the main religion decrees cutting off hands for theft, and killing your own sister if some guy drags her into an alley and rapes her? I wouldn't want to be in a Mexican or Chinese jail either. Yeah, I don't like it, but our soldiers are trying to retrain these people out of a medieval society that had no concern for civil rights into a modern democratic society. It takes time.

ke_future:

paul, what about those rape rooms that saddam had running? i the fact that he would have his secret police haul in whole families and have them brtually killed. while i don't think the current regime is all roses, it is certainly in a different ball park than what saddam was running. attempting to make any equivalence between the two era's is wrong.

my question is this: what is does the Iraqi law say about attempting to assault foreign dignitaries? is the sentence within those guidelines? just becuase he missed with the shoe does not make it any less of an assault. what if he hadn't missed with the shoe? bush could have been seriously injured if it had hit him in the face. a broken nose, injured eye, lost teeth. just because you don't like him, does not make the assault any less real.

ke_future:

oh, and what is US law on attempting to assault the president? you might be surprised by what you find.

again, this is one of the things that frustrates me about liberals. they don't care about the law, just about how things make them feel. you don't know what the law says, paul, nor do you seem to care. you are upset because you feel the guy got a stiff punishment. well, golly gee, actions have consequences. and he should have known that throwing a shoe at the head of a foreign nation would have serious ones.

mjB:

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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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