Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Iraqi shoe-thrower 'was beaten'

By Caroline Wyatt
BBC News, Baghdad

Muntader al-Zaidi in November 2008
Muntader al-Zaidi has been charged with "aggression against a president"

The investigating judge in the case of the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush says the man shows signs of having been beaten.

The judge, who saw Muntader al-Zaidi this week, said the journalist had bruises on his face and about his eyes.

He said Mr Zaidi was beaten while still at the news conference, in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

The court is investigating the beating and officials will watch recordings of the incident, he added.

It is still not clear, though, whether Muntader al-Zaidi's injuries were sustained only when security forces wrestled him to the ground, or in custody as well.

One of his brothers said the journalist had broken ribs and injuries to his arm too.

Muntader al-Zaidi has been in detention since throwing his shoes at President Bush on Sunday during a news conference with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki.

'Big, ugly act'

Judge Dhiya al-Kenani confirmed that Mr Zaidi had written a letter of apology to the Iraqi prime minister asking for a pardon for his "big, ugly act" of throwing his shoes at Mr Bush.

President Bush ducks as the shoes are thrown

The judge said the Iraqi president could grant a pardon if the prime minister requested it, though only following a conviction.

He said the journalist had not pressed any charges relating to his injuries.

Muntader al-Zaidi, a correspondent for an Iraqi-owned TV station based in Cairo, could face imprisonment on charges of insulting and attempting to assault a foreign leader.

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