The Iraqi journalist who tried to bean President Bush with his shoes is begging not to be sent to prison.
Describing his action as “an ugly act,” Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for an Iraqi-owned television station based in Cairo, Egypt, said in a letter that he would like to be forgiven.
He could spend two years in prison for insulting a foreign leader. He has been jailed ever since being wrestled to the floor by security guards last Sunday during a news conference featuring Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A spokesman for Maliki, Yassin Majid, told The Associated Press that al-Zeidi went on in the letter to recall an interview he conducted with the prime minister in 2005, when al-Maliki invited him into his home, saying: "Come in, it is your home too. …So I ask for your pardon, Excellency."
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Thursday that "the president harbors no hard feelings about it, and the Iraqis have a process that they'll follow… .But he did urge them not to overreact, because he was not bothered by the incident, although it's not appropriate for people to throw shoes at a press conference, at any leader."
Many Iraqis have hailed al-Zeidi as a hero for defying a president they blame for destroying their country.