'Iraqi reporter who hurled shoes at Bush was injected with unknown substance in jail'

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Baghdad, Sep. 15 (ANI): The family of an Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former US President George Bush has claimed that he was brutally tortured and repeatedly injected with "unknown substances" while in jail.

"They injected him with substances but he had no idea what they were. Every time he tried to refuse having the injections, the doctors would say, 'You don't know our job better than we do'," Times Online quoted Uday, the bother of Muntazer al-Zaidi, as saying.

Al-Zaidi, who became a hero in the Arab world for attacking Bush, was imprisoned at an Iraqi military compound at the former Al-Muthana Airport in Baghdad for three years, but his term has been reduced to one since no criminal record has been found against him.

Uday said that his brother was burned with "cigarettes behind his ears, had his ribs and nose broken".

According to him, Al-Zaidi was tortured after he refused to write and sign a letter of apology to Bush and to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who was standing next to the President during the incident.

The television journalist is scheduled to be flown to Greece for treatment on his expected release from prison on Tuesday.

"We decided as a family for him to go for physical and psychological treatment in Greece," Uday said at his brother's flat in central Baghdad.

"When Muntazer called me this morning, he sounded very broken because the prison guards would not let him call us for ten days," Uday said.

Furthermore, his brother informed that Al-Zaidi has no plans for returning to journalism or joining politics.

He will set up a human rights group, he says.

"He will not go into politics, contrary to what has been said in the past. He wants to do something to help the Iraqi people," Uday said.

"And he has done more to help Iraqi people with his defiance than any politician has." (ANI)

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