Iraqi authorities released Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who famously threw his shoes at former U.S. President George. W. Bush, from prison on Tuesday.

Al-Baghdadia TV channel, al-Zaidi’s employer, has begun a massive celebration with traditional music and flowers to greet the journalist’s release.

Al-Zaidi had been scheduled to be released after serving nine months in prison on Monday, but paperwork delayed his release, al-Baghdadia satellite channel reported.

The reporter was initially sentenced to three years in prison for hurling his shoes at Mr. Bush at a news conference in last December with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al—Maliki, but that sentence was subsequently reduced to one year on appeal.

His sentence was subsequently further reduced to nine months for good behaviour.

After images of al—Zaidi throwing his shoes at Mr. Bush and screaming, “This is a farewell kiss from Iraqis, you dog” were beamed across the region, he became a hero in Iraq and across the Arab world.

Iraqis erected a giant statue of a golden shoe in his honour. Libyan leader Moammer al—Gadhafi said he would bestow his country’s highest honour, the Libyan Medal of Honour, on al—Zaidi. The emir of Qatar promised him a golden horse.

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