State Watch

Suspect charged with second-degree attempted murder in connection to Rushdie attack

A New York district attorney announced on Saturday that a suspect has been charged in connection with the stabbing attack on author Salman Rushdie at an event in western New York.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said in a statement that 24-year-old Hadi Matar from Fairview, N.J., was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree attempted murder for allegedly attacking the author, according to The Buffalo News.

His attorney, public defender Nathaniel Barone, said he pled not guilty to his charges, CNN reported. 

He is currently being held in jail without bail, according to The Guardian. Schmidt also noted that authorities were executing a search warrant regarding the matter.

Schmidt’s announcement comes one day after Rushdie and a moderator were attacked during a lecture event. The moderator suffered a facial injury, but Rushdie’s injuries are more serious, according to The Associated Press.

Rushdie’s agent said that the author was placed on a ventilator and was at risk of losing an eye while also sustaining major injuries to his arm and liver.

It is unclear at this time what motivated the attack.

Rushdie, born in Mumbai, India, caused global controversy with his work “The Satanic Verses” published in the late 1980s. The work is considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

Specifically, the book drew ire from former Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who in 1989 issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie.

The recent attack against Rushdie was condemned by top officials around the world.

“Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie. This act of violence is appalling. All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement late Friday.

“For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. He has just been the victim of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism. His fight is our fight; it is universal. Now more than ever, we stand by his side,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

The Hill has reached out to Schmidt’s office and the Chautauqua County Public Defender’s Office for comment. 

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