Relatives of Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi celebrate at his house before his release in Baghdad September 13, 2009. Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter who became famous worldwide when he threw his shoes at then US President George W. Bush, is thought likely to get a hero's welcome if he is freed from jail, as expected, on Monday.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter who became famous worldwide when he threw his shoes at then US President George W. Bush, is thought likely to get a hero's welcome if he is freed from jail, as expected, on Monday.
In December 2008 Zaidi's actions towards Bush during the president's farewell visit to Baghdad captured many Iraqis' feelings of resentment following more than six years of bloodshed triggered by the US-led invasion in 2003. Condemned by the Iraqi government for his "barbaric act" during the news conference Bush held with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Zaidi was sentenced to three years in jail for assaulting a visiting head of state. The jail term was later reduced, and Zaidi's family expects his release on Monday.
Zaidi's lawyer Dhiaa al-Saadi said he had no word yet on when Zaidi would be freed.
Millions of people across the world have watched Zaidi hurl his shoes at Bush and call the man who started the war in Iraq a "dog," both great insults in the Middle East.
Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez called him courageous; a Libyan group headed by Muammar Gaddafi's daughter gave him an award for bravery; fathers from other Arab nations have offered Muntazer their daughters as brides.
Zaidi's arrest triggered demonstrations in Baghdad and Maitham al-Zaidi, Muntazer's brother, said supporters had already posted banners ahead of his release. He expects a crowd at the Baghdad air base where Muntazer is due to be freed.