The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former President George Bush had his sentence cut from three years to one today.
The decision came as Barack Obama made his first official visit to Iraq as US president.
Muntadhar al-Zeidi was sentenced to three years in March after pleading not guilty to a charge of assaulting a foreign leader. He described his action as a “natural response to the occupation.”
The journalist’s act during Bush’s last visit to Iraq as president turned the 30-year-old reporter into a folk hero across the Arab world, where the former US president is reviled for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Defence lawyers have argued that al-Zeidi’s act was an expression of freedom and not a crime.
But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has had little sympathy for the journalist, saying the incident was more than just an insult. He described it as an assault on a visiting head of state.
Karim al-Shujairi, one of al-Zeidi’s lawyers, said the appeal was filed about a week ago.
“We welcome this fair decision that shows the independence and the integrity of the Iraqi judiciary system,” said another al-Zeidi’s attorney, Yahya al-Ittabi.
Al-Zeidi has been in Iraqi custody since the incident at a news conference in December 2008. He is expected to be released in December 2009.