While the family of Iraqi journalist of Muntazer al-Zaidi (or al-Zeidi) (including a brother who visited him) have alleged obvious signs of abuse and torture, investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani has refused to allow an investigation into the matter — saying that such accounts are completely baseless. The problem has been the curious refusal of authorities to allow anyone to see al-Zaidi for many days and the decision to cancel an appearance in court shortly after his arrest. Then there are the accounts of witnesses who say that they heard him screaming after being taken away by Iraqi security.
Kenani announced that “The investigation phase is over and the case has been transferred to the Central Criminal Court. The trial will start on Wednesday, December 31.” Al-Zaidi is accused of “aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit” with the possibility of a 15 year term. The court could try to push a lesser offense of “attempted aggression.” However, that still comes with a one to five year sentence. Moreover, it is hard to see how a mere miss with two shoes is an attempt at aggression. That would require actual hits to be aggression — a rather curious standard for future cases.
Why would the Iraqi judge not want early and unlimited access by an international organization to this man? It would seem the easiest way to dispel or to confirm the allegations.
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