Iraq court postpones trial of shoe-throwing journalist Christian Ehret at 11:57 AM ET
[JURIST] Judge Abdul-Amir al-Rubaie of the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) [establishment order, PDF] on Thursday postponed the trial of Muntadar al-Zaidi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the Iraqi journalist accused of throwing his shoes at former US president George W. Bush [JURIST news archive]. The new trial date is set for March 12. Al-Zaidi's lawyers argued [AP report] that Bush's visit was not official and therefore the charge of assaulting a foreign leader should not apply. The trial was postponed so the court could determine if Bush's visit was official and respond to the defense. Al-Zaidi's appearance in court on Thursday was his first public appearance since his December arrest. He testified to a three-judge panel that his actions were meant to restore Iraqi citizens' pride and that he had been beaten while in custody [JURIST report]. The assault charge holds a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison while a lesser charge of insulting a foreign leader is punishable by up to three years. Al-Zaidi's lawyers have been unsuccessful in having the charge reduced or dismissed.
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