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Al-Zeidi, the eloquent shoe thrower, was tortured. Seeks asylum in Switzerland

Muntadhar Al-Zaidi was a reporter who covered the horror of the Iraq War from a people-first perspective. When he was invited to a press conference of the Iraqi Prime Minister, President Bush made a surprise appearance. Al-Zaidi took the sudden opportunity to make a statement by throwing his shoes at Mr. Bush and saying that it was a farewell from the widows and orphans (of war.) Al-Zaidi is still in custody, and the world has not been allowed to see him to see if he has been tortured.

From the AP report:

“Poggia says he was contacted by al-Zeidi’s family earlier this month. He says the journalist has been beaten and tortured in Iraqi detention.”

I find the story below useful because it explained some of the hows and whys about seeking asylum in Switzerland.

(excerpt from) Skynews UK
Shoe Thrower Seeks Swiss Asylum
Monday January 19, 2009

An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush in Baghdad last month is reportedly seeking political asylum in Switzerland.

Lawyer Mauro Poggia said he has been contacted by Muntazer al Zeidi’s relatives because of Switzerland’s reputation as a safe, neutral country – Geneva is the seat of the Red Cross movement and the European headquarters of the UN.

Switzerland could give him asylum “without taking a position for or against the American intervention in Iraq,” Mr Poggia said.

“My client needs to make his request at the Swiss embassy in Baghdad when he is released,” said the lawyer.

“But we don’t know when he will be able to do that because he still hasn’t gone to trial.”

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