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State: Would ‘Condemn’ Security Beating of Iraqi Shoe-Thrower


Washington : The U.S. State Department on Tuesday said that would issue a condemnation if rumors that the Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush was beaten up by security guards.

State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood’s statements were centered on the now-popularized incident that took place when Cairo-based Iraqi television correspondent Muntazer al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush during the U.S. president’s farewell visit to Baghdad.

“Well, obviously, we condemn any kind of unnecessary force used against the reporter. I don’t know that that [the beating of the reporter] happened,” Wood told reporters when asked to comment on the allegations. “But, certainly, if that did take place, we would condemn that,” he added.

Al-Zaidi’s brother Durgham said the journalist was taken to a Baghdad hospital with “a broken arm and ribs” as well as “injuries to his eye and leg,” after a beating by security forces. Judicial authorities have launched a probe into the incident that grabbed headlines around the world.

Zaidi was swiftly overpowered by Iraqi security forces after his action, regarded as the supreme mark of disrespect in the Arab world.

His brother charged that Zaidi had been beaten by Iraqi security guards but was unable to say whether Muntazer had sustained the injuries while being overpowered during Sunday’s protest or while in custody.