Man accused of attacking Salman Rushdie charged with attempted murder and assault

Dominic Smithers

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Man accused of attacking Salman Rushdie charged with attempted murder and assault

Featured Image Credit: NBC/PA

A man has been charged with attempted murder following the attack on Salman Rushdie.

Hadi Matar, from Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested after the incident at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state yesterday (12 August).

In a statement released today, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said the 24-year-old had been remanded in custody without bail.

He said: "The individual responsible for the attack yesterday, Hadi Matar, has now been formally charged with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree.

"He was arraigned on these charges last night and remanded without bail."

The announcement comes almost a day after the author was attacked ahead of his lecture at the Chautauqua Institution.

Salman Rushdie was attacked at an event in New York. Credit: jeremy sutton-hibbert/Alamy
Salman Rushdie was attacked at an event in New York. Credit: jeremy sutton-hibbert/Alamy

The 75-year-old was being introduced at the event, when a man jumped onto the stage and attacked him, stabbing him in the neck and body.

Staff and audience members managed to get to Rushdie and restrain the man, while a doctor administered first aid.

He was then taken by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery.

The celebrated writer's agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed he had been placed on a ventilator and had suffered damage to his liver, nerves and eye.

He said: "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."

Rushdie's most famous, and controversial, work was his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, which was banned in Iran.

In 1989, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's death.

A $3 million bounty was offered for his murder, which was increased to $3.3m almost a decade ago by a semi-official Iranian religious foundation.

Since news of the attack broke, state media in Iran has been celebrating.

The Khorasan daily newspaper published the story along with the headline: "Satan on the way to hell".

The 75-year-old was taken by helicopter to hospital, where he underwent surgery. Credit: Jeff Morgan 09/Alamy
The 75-year-old was taken by helicopter to hospital, where he underwent surgery. Credit: Jeff Morgan 09/Alamy

Asr Iran news site also mocked the incident, using a quote from the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that claimed the 'arrow' shot by Ruhollah Khomeini would 'one day hit the target'.

State news agency FARS News branded the author an 'apostate' and claimed his work had 'insulted the Prophet of Islam'.

And thanking the attacker, the Kayhan newspaper also said: "A thousand bravos to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York.

"The hand of the man who tore the neck of God's enemy must be kissed."

Rushdie was at the Chautauqua Institution to give a lecture alongside Henry Reese, the co-founder and president of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, which was founded almost 20 years ago to offer sanctuary to writers exiled under threat of persecution. 

He too was attacked in the incident, suffering a minor head injury.

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Topics: News, Crime, Police, UK News, US News

Dominic Smithers
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