Shoe-Thrower Gets Sentence Cut

In this case, one out of three ain’t so bad.—-

Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi TV news reporter, was sentenced last month to three years in prison on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader on an official visit, a penalty that enraged many of his fellow citizens. The sentence was handed down after al-Zaidi threw a shoe at President Bush during his final visit to Baghdad in December.

An Iraqi appeals court judge today reduced the charge to insulting a foreign leader, which carries a penalty of one year in prison, according to a BBC news report. The judge cited al-Zaidi’s lack of a previous criminal history in overturning the earlier sentence.

A BBC poll found that 62 percent of Iraqis asked considered al-Zaidi a “hero” for his action.

As mentioned in a recent Porkopolis column, al-Zaidi’s sentence seemed out of proportion as Bush was never in serious harm.

Worse, it was unfair that al-Zaidi would spend three years in prison for a relatively minor offense while U.S. officials who illegally authorized the use of torture against prisoners detained at Guantanamo and elsewhere have so far escaped any accountability, as have officials who launched the Iraq invasion based on false pretenses, an invasion that’s resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousand of Iraqi civilians.