Hadi Matar, who is the suspect in the stabbing attack on Salman Rushdie, pleaded not guilty on Saturday to both attempted murder and various assault charges.
The prosecutors referred to the crime as “pre-planned,” as Rushdie, who is the author of “The Satanic Verses,” remains in hospital in critical condition. “This was a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack on Mr. Rushdie,” District Attorney Jason Schmidt said.
An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during his arraignment in New York. Matar arrived in court wearing a black and white prison jumpsuit along with a white face mask. Matar was also handcuffed.
Nathaniel Barone hit out at the treatment of his client, stating he was “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks.” Barone added, “He has that constitutional right of presumed innocence.”
Matar has been accused of attacking Rushdie as he was walking on stage to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute. Police sources said that Rushdie was stabbed several times in both the neck and toros. Attendees stormed the stage to wrestle the suspect off Rushdie before a New York state trooper who was providing security took the suspect into custody.
Andrew Wylie, who is Rushdie’s agent, provided an update by email, however he said things were not looking good. “The news is not good. Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” Wylie said.
According to Bradley Fisher, who was in the audience at the time of the attack: “A man jumped up on the stage from I don’t know where and started what looked like beating him on the chest, repeated fist strokes into his chest and neck.”
President Joe Biden issued a statement on Saturday where he said that he and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” by the attack. “Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals,” the statement read. “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.”
“The Satanic Verses” caused Rushdie to receive death threats after it was published in 1988. The book has been both banned and burned in Pakistan, India and several other countries.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AL.COM
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