Munthadar al Zeidi still in jail

The shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist recently celebrated his 30th birthday in jail. According to a recent Huffington Post piece, guards threw a party for him and gave him a cake. I’m sorry to say that apart from this, there’s very little ongoing coverage.

The HP story says Munthadar al Zeidi is waiting the outcome of an appeal to have the serious charges against him downgraded to “insulting”  George Bush.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard there’s a Kiwi connection to Mr al Zeidi and I’m hoping to learn and report more about this soon.

Over at Zimbio there’s a great collection of animated gifs and other material that’s been generated over the Internet in the weeks since the December 2008 incident in Baghdad. [In case you don’t know, al Zeidi an Iraqi TV reporter took off his shoes and hurled them at outgoing president George Dubya Bush during a media conference. In the Arab world throwing shoes is a very heavy insult.]

It’s a pity that the American soldiers involved in this incident, didn’t throw shoes instead of opening fire:

Reporters Without Borders calls on the US military high command to discipline the US soldiers who shot and seriously wounded TV journalist Hadeel Emad yesterday [2nd January 2009] in Baghdad. Emad works as a producer for Beladi TV, owned by former Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari.

“The US military said Emad ignored the orders to stop given by its soldiers but how could she have complied when her hearing is impaired?” Reporters Without Borders said. “An unarmed person’s failure to immediately respond to a warning is anyway not grounds for opening fire on them. We hope Emad recovers quickly from her injuries and we offer her colleagues our sympathy. Above all, we call on the US military to shed light on this disgraceful incident and to adopt the necessary disciplinary measures.”

The incident occurred at a checkpoint jointly manned by US soldiers and Iraqi police in the central Baghdad district of Karada.

According to Beladi TV, the US soldiers initially fired in the air but Emad, 25, did not hear the shots because her hearing is impaired. When she did not heed their warning shots, the soldiers then fired two shots in her directing, hitting her in the chest. She was rushed to a Baghdad hospital where her condition was said to be critical.

Agence France-Presse today quoted a US military spokesman as saying soldiers opened fire on Emad because she was “behaving erratically.” The management of Beladi TV said it wanted to “know the reasons for this criminal act.”

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