What happened to the guy who threw a shoe at Bush? Earlier this week marked the 12-year anniversary of the incident. On 14 December 2008, Iraqi broadcast journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at US President George W Bush. Where is he now?

What happened to al-Zaidi, aka the guy who threw a shoe at Bush?

Immediately following the incident, guards grabbed and kicked al-Zaidi, before taking him into custody. Footage of the event went viral.

On 12 March 2009, al-Zaidi (30) received a three-year prison sentence for the “shoeing” incident. He pleaded not guilty and, according to The Guardian’s report, shouted “Long live Iraq” when the judge announced the sentence. 

what happened to the guy who threw a shoe at bush
Protestors hold a picture of US President George W. Bush and wave shoes during a protest in the Jordanian capital Amman on December 20, 2008 in support of Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist arrested for throwing his shoes at Bush. Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush at a press conference on December 14 during the US leader’s farewell visit to Iraq, in an incident that became an instant sensation in the Arab world. AFP PHOTO/AWAD AWAD (Photo credit should read AWAD AWAD/AFP via Getty Images)

However, on 7 April that year, the sentence was reduced to one year. On 12 September, after nine months in jail, al-Zaidi was released early for good behaviour.

After his release, al-Zaidi received treatments for injuries he allegedly sustained while in prison. 

He then travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, to set up a humanitarian foundation. The aim of the foundation was to “build orphanages, a children’s hospital, and medical and orthopaedic centres offering free treatment.”

The guy who threw his shoe at Bush, back in the news

In May 2018, al-Zaidi announced he would run for the Iraqi Council Of Representatives on the Alliance Towards Reforms ticket of Muqtada al-Sadr. 

BAGHDAD, IRAQ, SEPTEMBER 15: Muntazer al-Zaidi (C) is seen surrounded by security guards as he is released from prison on September 15, 2009, in Baghdad, Iraq. Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at U.S President George W. Bush, was today released after a nine-month stint in prison. (Photo by Getty Images)

He discussed the reasons for his nominations in an interview with Reuters. 

His campaign was unsuccessful but he has since re-entered the news.

Following comparable incidents, such as the “milkshaking” of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson on two consecutive days in May 2019, interest in al-Zaidi has spiked.

In a far-reaching interview with Mother Jones, al-Zaidi described his actions as “worth it”. He also shared his thoughts on the incidents involving Tommy Robinson and similar events involving Nigel Farage.

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