Iraqi shoe thrower to seek Swiss asylum

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January 19, 2009 13:09

 
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A Swiss lawyer working on behalf of the Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at US President George W. Bush said Monday that his client will seek political asylum in Switzerland. Geneva-based lawyer Mauro Poggia said Muntadhar al-Zeidi's life is in danger if he stays in Iraq. Al-Zeidi has been detained in an Iraqi jail awaiting trial since he was seized by guards after his Dec. 14 outburst at a joint news conference in Baghdad by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "He is in danger over there," Poggia told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. "He's also in danger in other Muslim countries because people who support his action could try to make him a martyr." Al-Zeidi's gesture of anger at Bush turned the employee of a minor TV station into a national hero to many Iraqis fed up with America's six-year presence in the country. But concern has been raised about his safety after allegations that he had been severely beaten and tortured in detention.

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