The released Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at former US President George W. Bush said Tuesday he was tortured during the first days of being in custody.
"I have been tortured by electric shocks, beatings and whipped by cords," Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who was freed earlier in the day after nine months of imprisonment, told in the news conference at the TV station where he works in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Waziryah.
Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi (C with beard and sunglasses) is seen upon arrival at the Al-Baghdadya television station following his release from prison in Baghdad September 15, 2009. [Xinhua]
"In the morning, I was left in the cold weather after they splashed me with water," he said, adding that he will reveal later the names of some senior officials in the Iraqi government and the army.
Zaidi, wearing a sash in the color of Iraqi flag around his shoulders, said that the abuse was under way at the time Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was on television telling Iraqis that "he couldn't sleep until being reassured on my fate."
The 30-year-old reporter of the Cairo-base Iraqi channel of al-Baghdadiyah also said that he has fears now for his life safety.
He believed that the "US intelligence service would spare no efforts to chase me as an insurgent revolutionary who opposes the occupation (of Iraq), in an attempt to kill me."
Zaidi hurled his shoes at Bush during a joint press conference with Maliki on Dec. 14, when Bush was on a farewell visit to Iraq.
"Here I am free, but my country is still captive. I am not a hero, but I am a man of opinion and attitude, who was shocked by the killing of Iraqis," Zaidi said when explained the motive of his act.
Initially, Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison. The court reduced the term to one year because Zaidi had no criminal history. Later, Zaidi got a cut of 25 percent of his sentence due to his good behavior in line with the Iraqi law.
(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2009)