DAD8 (AFP) - The Iraqi journalist who became an instant media star for hurling his shoes at US President George W Bush appeared on Wednesday before a judge investigating the incident, his brother said.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, 29, a television reporter who relatives and colleagues said acted because he "detested" Bush and America, was brought before the judge in the high-security Green Zone in the heart of Baghdad, the brother told AFP.
Durgham al-Zaidi said he and another brother were told by the investigating judge that Muntazar had "cooperated well", but that they were unable to attend the hearing and had no further details. Under Iraqi law, Zaidi risks up to seven years in jail for "offending the head of a foreign state."
Durgham said on Tuesday that his brother had been taken to the US-run Ibn Sina hospital in the Green Zone after being beaten by security guards and suffering a broken arm and ribs, as well as injuries to an eye and a leg.
He was unable to say whether Muntazer had sustained the injuries while being overpowered during Sunday's protest or after his arrest, and there was no immediate information about the journalist's condition on Wednesday.
One of Zaidi's colleagues said that he had asked the station to send three lawyers to defend him, but it was not known if anyone represented him at Wednesday's hearing.
The White House said on Tuesday it was for Iraqi leaders to decide whether to punish Zaidi, who relatives said had been arrested at the beginning of the year by US forces and was once kidnapped by militants and held for days.
"I think the president believes that Iraq is a sovereign country, a democratic country, and they will have a process that they follow on this," spokeswoman Dana Perino said.