The speed of the trial — two relatively brief hearings — is likely to feed widespread suspicion among Iraqis that al-Maliki's government orchestrated the process, although defense lawyers said they had no evidence of interference. Spokesmen for Bush and for the State Department both called the verdict "a matter for the Iraqi judicial system."
This is somewhat at odds with popular sentiment:
An ABC News/BBC/NHK poll released Thursday found that 62 percent of Iraqis surveyed considered al-Zeidi a hero and only 24 percent considered him a criminal. Support was highest among Sunni Arabs — 84 percent — and lowest among the Kurds at 38 percent, according to ABC.
However, Zeidi received the minimum sentence. I'm not sure if parole exists in Iraq but it won't be long before he's free again. My bet is Zeidi will end up running for election.
Meantime, a group of Canadian lawyers are trying to prevent George W Bush from entering the country. Lawyers Against War claim:
- George W. Bush, former President of the United States and Commander is Chief of the Armed Forces, is inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), section 35(1)(a) because of overwhelming evidence that he has ‘committed, outside Canada, torture and other offences referred to in sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (CAHWC); and,
- the George W. Bush Administration has engaged in “systematic or gross human rights violations, or a war crime or a crime against humanity within the meaning of subsections 6(3) to (5) of the CAHWC.
We request that the RCMP War Crimes Section immediately take the following steps:
- begin an investigation of George W. Bush for aiding, abetting and counseling torture between November 13, 2001 and November 2008 at Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and other places; and,
- advise the Prime Minister, Attorney General of Canada and Ministers of Immigration and Public Safety that the George W. Bush administration is a “ government that has engaged in torture and other war crimes and crimes against humanity and therefore G.W. Bush, as former President, is also inadmissible under section 35(1)(b) of the IRPA.