Baghdad : The release of Iraqi shoe-thrower Muntazar al-Zaidi, jailed nine months for hurling his footwear at then US president George W. Bush, has been delayed until Tuesday, his brother said Monday.
The brother angrily told al-Jazeera news channel that security authorities had offered no specific reasons for the delay.
And he lashed out at Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government for its “procrastination”, accusing it of being afraid al-Zaidi “will tell what happened to him in prison, giving a bad reputation to al-Maliki before elections”.
Al-Zaidi, a 30-year-old reporter for the Cairo-based Baghdadia television channel, had been expected to get a hero’s welcome across the Arab world on his release.
Qatar’s Emir promised to give him a golden horse, Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi said he would give him the highest Libyan Medal of Honour, and others offered him a sports car, the Baghdadia website reported.
Shouting in Arabic “this is a farewell kiss from the Iraqis, dog”, al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during a Baghdad press conference being given jointly with al-Maliki last December.
Al-Zaidi instantly became a hero in the region, and he has since received marriage proposals, and offers of money and even a career in politics.