"Free al-Zaidi!" Rally To Be Held TODAY Outside Iraqi Embassy in D.C.

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, 508-769-2138

"Free al-Zaidi!" Rally To Be Held TODAY Outside Iraqi Embassy in D.C.

WASHINGTON - A rally calling on the Iraqi government to free
Muntader al-Zaidi, the Iraqi man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, will
be held at 12 p.m. Monday (TODAY) in front of the Iraqi consulate to
the United States, located at 1801 P Street NW in Washington, DC.

WHAT: Coalition rally to free Iraqi shoe-thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi

WHEN: 12 p.m. Dec. 29 - TODAY

WHERE: Outside Iraqi consulate, 1801 P Street NW in Washington, DC. 

 

The rally, called by a coalition of peace and justice organizations
including CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War,
AfterDowningStreet.org, Consumers for Peace and others, will
immediately precede Mr. al-Zaidi's appearance in the Central Criminal
Court of Iraq on Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve. Mr. al-Zaidi was arrested
December 14 after hurling his shoes at Mr. Bush during a press
conference in Baghdad. 
 
"Al-Zaidi did not attempt to physically hurt George Bush but to insult
him and express the deep anger that so many Iraqis feel over the U.S.
occupation," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group
CODEPINK.  "He should be immediately released and the Iraqi government
should be held accountable for abusing him while in custody."

At the close of the rally, organizers will deliver a petition to
Ambassador of Iraq to the United States Samir Sumaida'ie at the Iraqi
embassy at 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
 
"The treatment al-Zaidi has received should shame all Americans and is
likely to motivate as much anti-American sentiment as have the photos
of torture at Abu Ghraib," said David Swanson, co-founder of
AfterDowningStreet.org.  "While our president and vice-president openly
confess to authorizing torture, their puppet government in Iraq
tortures a man for throwing shoes, in complete absence of even the
pretense of 'interrogation,' much less a ticking time bomb. Freeing
Al-Zaidi will not fix this situation.  We must also put Bush and Cheney
behind bars."

"There are credible reports that al-Zaidi has been tortured while in
the custody of the government of Iraq," said Nick Mottern, Director of
Consumers for Peace, one of the rally organizers, "and this alone
provides the basis for setting him free."

"Mr. al-Zaidi's act, in the context of the suffering caused by the
US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, can be seen as a legitimate
form of self-expression," Mottern said, "but in any case his action is
something that should be treated as nothing more than a misdemeanor in
which his time already spent in jail would be more than sufficient."

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CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.

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