Iraqi judge Dhia Al Kinani Friday announced an investigation into the alleged beating of Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi. Al-Zaidi was allegedly beaten after throwing his shoes at US President George W. Bush on December 14 during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki where the two leaders discussed the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Al-Zaidi is charged with offending the head of a foreign state and could face up to seven years in prison. He appeared before a judge last week behind closed doors, leading some to believe that he was beaten while in custody. Since the incident, al-Zaidi has been wildly popular throughout the Arab world. Despite public pressure to release the journalist, it is unlikely he will be released without trial.This man will become a martyr and a hero for the Iraqi people and the terrorists..bet on it.
Al-Zaidi has allegedly suffered brutality first hand in Iraq having been kidnapped and released by Shiite militiamen in 2007. He threw his shoes just after Bush finished his remarks celebrating the SOFA and expressing solidarity with the Iraqi government. The SOFA sets a 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops. It was approved by the Iraqi presidential council earlier this month and will go into effect on January 1, 2009, a day after the current UN Mandate authorizing the US presence in Iraq expires. In addition to the official deadlines for troop withdrawal, the SOFA gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over American military personnel and eliminates immunity for US defense contractors working within Iraq.
Al-Zaidi's trial is set to begin on December 31.