Guards Throw Iraqi Shoe-Thrower A Birthday Party

Very, very odd. He was beaten and is denied access to lawyers, yet they give him a birthday party: BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi journalist jailed since throw

Very, very odd. He was beaten and is denied access to lawyers, yet they give him a birthday party:

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who has gained cult status for his bizarre protest, is in good shape but has been denied access to his lawyer, relatives said after his brother Maitham visited him for two hours in his detention cell in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Al-Zeidi has been in custody since the Dec. 14 outburst at Bush's joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi's release and hailed his gesture.

But concern was raised about his welfare after allegations that he had been severely beaten and tortured in detention.

The case's investigating judge has said the journalist was struck about the face and eyes, apparently by security agents who wrestled him to the floor after he hurled his shoes, forcing Bush to duck for cover.

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