Text size

The head of a large West Bank family wants to reward the Iraqi journalist who lobbed his shoes at President George W. Bush by sending him a bride.

75-year-old Ahmad Salim Judeh says if journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi is interested the family is willing to take one of its eligible daughters to Iraq along with her dowry.

Judeh says doing so 'would be our honor'. He also said Friday that the 500-member clan had raised $30,000 for al-Zeidi's legal defense.

Al-Zeidi has become something of a folk hero since throwing his shoes at President Bush at a Sunday press conference.

Thousands took to the streets in Iraq to protest his arrest, and his actions were heralded across the Arab world as news stations repeatedly showed footage of the incident.

Al-Zeidi is unmarried.

In Iraq, meanwhile, the judge in al-Zeidi's case said Friday that the journalist was beaten after the incident and had bruises on his face and around his eyes.

Judge Dhia al-Kinani, the magistrate investigating the incident, said the court had filed a complaint on behalf of al-Zeidi, and added that court officials will watch the footage to identify those who have beaten him.

Al-Zeidi was wrestled to the ground after throwing his shoes during the news conference by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and there had been conflicting claims on his condition since then. One of his brothers claimed he was harshly beaten, but another said he had seemed to be in good condition.

Al-Zeidi remained in custody and was expected to eventually face charges of insulting a foreign leader.

He was beaten and we filed a case for that, Judge Dhia al-Kinani told The Associated Press. Al-Zeidi did not raise a complaint and he can drop this case if he wants to.

Al-Kinani also confirmed that the journalist had written a letter of apology to al-Maliki. Under the Iraqi constitution, the president can grant pardons that are requested by the prime minister.