Grave insult

As well as throwing his shoes at the US leader - something that is considered to be a grave insult in the Arab world - al-Zaidi shouted: "It is the farewell kiss, you dog."

However, al-Zaidi was immediately arrested and had been due to appear in court on Wednesday on charges of "aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit".

If found guilty al-Zaidi could face up to 15 years in jail.

His lawyer, Dhiya al-Saadi, lodged a request for the trial to be cancelled on the grounds that court action would breach al-Zaidi's constitutional right to freedom of expression.

"Our appeal is based on the fact that Zaidi simply expressed his rejection of the occupation and the policy of repression against Iraqis. Zaidi's action falls within the framework of freedom of expression," said al-Saadi.