FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A rally calling on the Iraqi Government to free Muntadhar Al-Zeidi, the man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, will be held Monday, December 29 at noon in front of the Iraqi consulate to the United States, located at 1801 P Street NW in Washington, DC.
The rally is timed to immediately precede Mr. Al-Zeidi’s appearance in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq on Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve. Mr. Al-Zeidi was arrested December 14 after hurling his shoes at Mr. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.
“Al-Zeidi did not attempt to physically hurt George Bush but to insult him and express the deep anger that so many Iraqis feel over the U.S. occupation. He should be immediately released and the Iraqi government should be held accountable for abusing him while in custody,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK.
“The treatment Al-Zeidi has received should shame all Americans and is likely to motivate as much anti-American sentiment as have the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib,” said David Swanson, cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org. “While our President and Vice President openly confess to authorizing torture, their puppet government in Iraq tortures a man for throwing shoes, in complete absence of even the pretense of ‘interrogation,’ much less a ticking time bomb. Freeing Al-Zeidi will not fix this situation. We must also put Bush and Cheney behind bars.”
“There are credible reports that Muntadhar Al-Zeidi has been tortured while in the custody of the government of Iraq,” said Nick Mottern, Director of Consumers for Peace, one of the rally organizers, “and this alone provides the basis for setting him free.”
“Mr. Al-Zeidi’s act, in the context of the suffering caused by the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, can be seen as a legitimate form of self-expression,” Mottern said, “but in any case his action is something that should be treated as nothing more than a misdemeanor in which his time already spent in jail would be more than sufficient.”
The rally is being called by a coalition of peace and justice organizations including: CODEPINK: Women for Peace; Iraq Veterans Against the War; AfterDowningStreet.org; Consumers for Peace; and others.
At the close of the rally, organizers will deliver a petition to Ambassador of Iraq to the United States Samir Sumaida’ie at the Iraqi embassy at 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
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