Upon release, Iraqi shoe-thrower journalist says he was tortured after his arrest, vowing to reveal the names of senior Iraqi officials involved in his mistreatment.
Freed on Tuesday after some nine months in prison, Muntazer al-Zaidi joined his relatives and supporters, who gathered to give him a blissful welcome, sacrificing sheep and hanging laurels of flowers around his neck.
Appearing with a missing front tooth, Zaidi told bitter stories of beatings and whippings, and expressed deep fears of US intelligence services and their affiliated services.
“And here I want to warn all my relatives and people close to me that these services will use all means to trap and try to kill and liquidate me either physically, socially or professionally.”
He also explained how he had been beaten with iron bars, whipped with cords and electrocuted in the backyard of the building in Baghdad’s so-called ‘Green Zone’.
“In the morning, I was left in the cold weather after they splashed me with water,” he said.
Still, Zaidi defended his action of throwing his shoes at former US president George W. Bush at a news conference as an opportunity he could not waste to respond to ‘the screams of victims and the cries of bereaved women’.
“Simply put, what incited me toward confrontation is the oppression that fell upon my people and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by placing it under its boots,” he said.
“The criminal murderer is standing here expecting us to throw flowers at him; this was my flower to the occupier.”