Hadhi Matarage 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, has been charged with attempted murder after he jumped onstage and stabbed Salman Rushdie 15 times on the head and body. The man suspected of attacking novelist Salman Rushdie last Friday is also facing assault charges, prosecutors said on Saturday.
“The individual responsible for yesterday’s attack, Hadi Mattar, has beenformally charged with attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degreeChautauqua County Prosecutor Jason Schmidt said.
“Last night he was indicted on these charges and was remanded in custody without bail”, the statement added.
Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen, the police noted. Several attendees of the event pounced on the assailant before he was stopped by a police officer present at the scene.
A doctor administered first aid to the writer before the emergency services arrived.
Interviewer Ralph Henry Reese, 73, who was on stage with the writer, suffered a facial injury but was released from hospital.
After the attack, which occurred shortly before 11:00 local time (15:00 GMT), Rushdie was airlifted to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
The British writer, spent years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa ordered his assassination, is on a ventilator and could lose an eye after being stabbed Friday at a literary event in upstate New York.
“The news is not good,” his agent, Andrew Wylie, told the newspaper. New York Times. “Salman will likely lose an eye, the nerves in his arm were severed and his liver was stabbed and damaged.”Wylie specified.
In 1988, Rushdie published “The Satanic Verses”a book that sparked outrage in the Muslim world, for which the Iranian revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa (religious decree) calling for the writer’s death.
On Saturday, Iran’s leading ultra-conservative daily Kayhan wrote: “Congratulations to this brave and duty-conscious man who attacked the apostate and depraved Salman Rushdie.” “Let us kiss the hands of the one who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife,” he added.
A hidden decade
Rushdie, 75, rose to fame with his second novel “Midnight’s Children” in 1981, which garnered international acclaim and the UK’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.
In 1988 “The Satanic Verses” was considered by many Muslims as disrespectful to the Prophet Muhammad. Rushdie, confessed atheist, member of a family of non-practicing Muslims, he was forced to live in hiding when a bounty was placed on his head that is still in effect.
The UK government, where he studied and made his home, gave him police protection after attacks on his translators and editors.
In 1991, the Japanese translator of the novel, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death.
He spent nearly a decade in hiding, constantly moving houses and unable to tell his children where he lived. He only began to come out of his hidden life in the late 1990s, after Iran said in 1998 that he did not support his assassination.
Rushdie, who had settled in New York in 2000, is a staunch defender of freedom of expression.
He made a strong defense of the French satirical magazine charlie hebdo after Islamists killed part of his staff in Paris in 2015 for having caricatured Muhammad. “Nothing justifies a fatwa, a death sentence,” Charlie Hebdo editorialized after the attack on Rushdie and repudiated the “small, mediocre, intellectually inept and often culturally ignorant spiritual leaders” who attack “freedom of thought, reflection and expression” .
Threats and boycotts persist against Rushdie’s literary events, and his 2007 British knighthood sparked protests in Iran and Pakistan, where a government minister said it justified suicide bombings.
But the fatwa it failed to silence Rushdie and inspired his memoir “Joseph Anton”, the name of his alias while in hiding, which is written in the third person.
Rushdie’s books have been translated into more than 40 languages and his novel “Midnight’s Children”, which is over 600 pages long, has been adapted for stage and screen.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, he said “horrified” by what happened. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, showed his support for the writer. “For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. Hate and barbarism have just hit him cowardly, ”he tweeted. “His combat is ours, universal.” The Secretary General of the UN, Anthony GuterresHe said through his spokesman that he was “appalled” by the attack.
Suzanne Nossel, director in the United States of the PEN organization, which advocates for freedom of expression, highlighted her support for the “fearless Salman.”