Shoe-Thrower Still Hidden Away

Randall Joyce is CBS News' Baghdad producer.

The lawyers representing Muntader al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush, tried again today to see their client and were again denied access.

Al-Zeidi has not been seen by his family or by any member of the defense team that his family has assembled with the help of his employer, Baghdadiya television.

Family members have expressed concern that al-Zeidi may have been severely beaten after the incident and is being hidden from view to keep the nature of his injuries from the public.

His continued detention is becoming a political issue here in Baghdad, where thousands have marched demanding his release. The television channel he works for continues to run extended programs featuring interviews and phone call-in segments demanding his release.

Yesterday's parliamentary debate on the status of British and other coalition forces in Iraq was interrupted by angry demands that al-Zeidi's legal status be put on the agenda. The session spiraled out of control and the Speaker of the Parliament, Mahmoud Mashadani, walked out threatening to resign.

There are signs the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is pushing back against the wave of bad publicity following the incident. The government now says al-Zeidi has written a letter apologizing for embarrassing the Prime Minister in front of the world.

Al-Maliki's media advisor, Yasin Majeed, claims that in that letter the reporter admits: "His big, ugly act cannot be excused," and that he appeals to the Prime Minister's "fatherly feelings" to be forgiven.
  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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