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Media Watchdog Calls For Release Of Iraqi Shoe-Thrower


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to block one of the shoes from hitting U.S. President George W. Bush.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to block one of the shoes from hitting U.S. President George W. Bush.

The media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who was arrested after he threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush during Bush's visit to Baghdad on December 14.

The Paris-based media freedom group said that while it regretted that al-Zaidi used this method of protest against the politics of the U.S. president, he should be released "for humanitarian reasons and to ease tensions."

"Given the controversy surrounding this incident, we urge the Iraqi security services to guarantee the physical well-being of this journalist, who was clearly injured during his arrest," RSF said.

Al-Zaidi achieved instant notoriety for his gesture seen on television screens around the world, and thousands in Iraq and elsewhere have demonstrated for his release.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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