Previously scheduled to begin tomorrow, the closely watched trial of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi was postponed today according to a spokesman of the Iraqi court.
The delay is pending an appellate court ruling on what charges Zeidi will face for throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush earlier this month. The government has sought to charge Zeidi with assaulting a foreign leader, but his legal team argues he should only face a charge of insulting a leader, insisting that “the case is within context of an insult and not an intention to kill.” If the charge is reduced, Zeidi could be released on bail.
The act of defiance turned Zeidi into an international celebrity overnight, Iraqis took to the streets in the wake of the incident, calling for Zeidi’s release, and also lead to the resignation of Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani and indirectly the severing of Iraq’s largest Sunni political bloc.
The trial is expected to be a media circus in Iraq and a major public test of the judicial system. Reports of Zeidi’s torture in custody and claims of a coerced confession that he threw the shoes under orders from a terrorist mastermind have only added to the speculation. How long it will be until the appellate court decides the charges he will face is currently unclear.