Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist Released From Prison: "Here I Am Free, And My Country Is Still Captured"

"Here I am free, and my country is still captured."

These were the words this morning of Muntader al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who became an international hero after hurling his shoes at George W. Bush last year, first yelling,"This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!" and then "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!"

Nine months after his arrest, at a press conference in Baghdad, al Zaidi described how his years reporting on the death and destruction caused by the U.S. invasion had instilled in him a deep anger at what was happening to his country.

"If those who blamed me knew how many destroyed houses I walked over with those shoes that I threw; and how many times those shoes mixed with the blood of the innocent; and how many times those shoes went into homes where the honor of those who lived there was disgraced, then it was probably the proper response," he said.

He also described the torture he suffered while in prison, which included "electric shocks and being beaten by electric cables and steel rods."


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