The journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush is reported to have suffered various injuries after being beaten up by security officials. Some reports have said that Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who has since been admitted to hospital, was hit on the head with a rifle butt.
His brother, Dargham al-Zaidi, told the BBC on Tuesday that Muntadhar al-Zaidi had suffered a broken hand, broken ribs, internal bleeding and an eye injury as a result of being beaten after his arrest. He was also said to have been handed over to the judicial authorities.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference on Sunday when the US President was giving a joint press conference with the Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad. The incident received worldwide media coverage.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi is the correspondent of the Cairo-based Iraqi television channel al-Baghdadia. He is said to have been abducted by armed groups and detained and questioned by US forces in Iraq in 2007.
Under Iraqi law, he risks up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine for publicly insulting a foreign head of state.
President Bush was on a visit to Baghdad where he signed the Status of Forces Agreement on the role and future of US troops in Iraq with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to investigate reports of Muntadhar al-Zaidi being beaten.
“Amnesty International does not condone any act of violence,” said Malcolm Smart of Amnesty International. “However, the Iraqi authorities have a duty to investigate all allegations of torture or other ill-treatment of Muntadhar al-Zaidi and to prosecute any persons alleged to be responsible for such abuses.
“The Iraqi authorities should also disclose his whereabouts, ensure that he is permitted prompt and regular access to legal counsel, his family and to any medical attention he requires, and safeguard him from torture or other ill-treatment.”