Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Monday, 14 September 2009 11:58 UK

Iraq shoe thrower release delayed


Footage of the shoe hurling incident

Relatives of the Iraqi journalist jailed for throwing shoes at former US President George W Bush have been told he will now be released on Tuesday.

The family of Muntadar al-Zaidi, whose act made him a hero in the Arab world and beyond, had expected him to be freed from a Baghdad prison on Monday.

Zaidi's brother told journalists he had waited five hours at the jail before being told of the delay.

Family members said they would stage a sit-in until he is released.

Officials have blamed the delay on processing paperwork, his relatives said.

Zaidi, who called Mr Bush "a dog" during last December's attack, was convicted of assault in March.

His three-year prison sentence was reduced to one because he had a clean record. He is due to be released three months early for good behaviour.

Zaidi's family is preparing to hold a party for him and he has received offers of money, jobs and even marriages from sympathisers across the Arab world.

Hero's welcome

His brother, Dargham al-Zaidi, says the journalist was beaten while in prison, suffering a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding. Those allegations have been rejected by the Iraqi military.

A relative of Muntadar al-Zaidi stands beneath his poster

The previously little-known journalist from the private Cairo-based al-Baghdadia TV has become a hero to many, not just in Iraq but across the Arab world, for what some saw as a fitting send-off for a deeply unpopular US president.

As he flung the shoes, Zaidi shouted: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

His action was celebrated in internet games and on T-shirts and some people have offered him their daughters in marriage.

Zaidi, who lives in Baghdad, has worked for al-Baghdadia for three years.

A senior official at the channel said his salary had continued to be paid during his prison term and that a home had been bought for him in the capital.

In his work as a reporter, Zaidi was abducted by insurgents and twice held for questioning by US forces in Iraq.

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