In D.C. this morning, the Iraq Ambassador to the United States, Samir Sumaida’ie, paused during a presentation to address a handful of women from CODEPINK who were holding signs in the audience reading “Free al-Zaidi” and “al-Zaidi speaks for me.” The signs were to show their support for the Iraqi journalist who was taken into police custody after throwing his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference on Sunday.
The Ambassador directly acknowledged the women’s presence in the audience. He called al-Zaidi’s act disgraceful and said the journalist was lucky that he didn’t try something like this under Saddam Hussein.
The BBC is reporting today that the shoe thrower has allegedly been beaten while in custody. Al-Zaidi’s brother Dargham has reported that he has suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, and internal bleeding. “The only thing that will hopefully keep al-Zaidi from being swept up into an anonymous prison for an indefinite period, and even tortured, is the huge outpouring of support he has received the world over,” said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.
CODEPINK has begun a PETITION for people who agree with the anti-war sentiment behind al-Zaidi’s shoe-throwing action and call for his release without charge. The group will also visit the Iraqi Embassy in D.C. this afternoon to demand al-Zaidi’s release. On Wednesday, CodePink and other antiwar groups will gather outside the White House to display shoes representing the Iraqis and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq.
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