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Digging Into Iraq's "Shoe-Throwing" Law

Muntader al Zeidi, an Iraqi television reporter, threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday and now it seems the Iraqi government is ready to "throw the book" at him. There have been numerous, conflicting accounts of which law is being used to prosecute al Zeidi, so we decided to do a little research. It appears that the law in question existed before the U.S. invasion. It is worth noting that the sentence for assaulting a foreign head of state is not spelled out in the law itself. A number of legal experts have told us the maximum sentence would be 15 years in prison, but one claimed that since both shoes missed that sentence could be cut in half to 7-and-a-half years.

Below is text of the law:

Offences against the Public Authorities


Offences affecting the constitution

Paragraph 223 - (1) Any person who murders the President is punishable by death.

(2) Any person who assaults the President or attempts to do so but not to the extent of murdering him is punishable by imprisonment.

(3) The same penalties apply, according to the circumstances, if the offence is committed against a foreign Head of state while he is in Iraq or on an official visit.

Paragraph 224 - Any person who resorts to the use of violence, menaces or any other illegal method in order to force the President or his representative to perform a duty assigned to him by law or to refrain from doing so is punishable by life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term of years.

The penalty will be imprisonment for a term of years if the act is committed against the Prime Minister or his deputy or a minister or member of the National Assembly.

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