Judge denies bail for man accused of assaulting Sir Salman Rushdie

A judge has refused bail for the man accused of trying to kill Sir Salman Rushdie as the acclaimed author prepared to give a lecture in western New York.

adi Matar, 24, appeared in a courtroom in western New York after a grand jury charged him with storming the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbing Sir Salman multiple times in front of a horrified crowd.


Hadi Matar and defender Nathaniel Barone (Joshua Bessex/AP)

Matar wore a black-and-white prison uniform and remained silent throughout the hearing while his attorney unsuccessfully tried to persuade the judge that he should be released while he awaited trial.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone said Matar has no criminal record and would not flee the country if released.

Mr. Barone also asked the judge to do something to stop reporters trying to contact Matar at the Chautauqua County jail.

The lawyer said the prison received “several hundred calls” from people trying to reach Matar.

Part of this media work resulted in Matar giving a brief interview to the New York Post, in which he discussed his dislike for Sir Salman and praised Iran’s late supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The ayatollah issued an edict in 1989 demanding the death of Sir Salman over his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.


Sir Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses (Adam Butler/PA)

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A semi-official Iranian foundation had put up a bounty of more than $3 million.

Matar’s attorney complained that media coverage could potentially lead to a biased jury.

“He is entitled to a fair trial. He is entitled to a due process no matter what he is accused of,” Mr Barone said.

Judge David Foley denied that request but ordered the attorneys involved in the case not to give interviews.

“We are not allowed to speak to the press until we resolve this issue,” the judge said.

Sir Salman, 75, is being treated for serious wounds at a Pennsylvania hospital. His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said Sir Salman had a damaged liver and severed nerves in one arm and was at risk of losing an eye.

Chautauqua District Attorney Jason Schmidt called the attack “pre-planned.”

The author had just taken the stage at the normally tranquil lakeside retreat to discuss protecting exiled writers and freedom of expression when Matar reportedly jumped onto the stage.

Henry Reese, 73, the co-founder of Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, shared the stage with Sir Salman and suffered a laceration to the forehead, bruising and other minor injuries.

Matar, who lived with his mother in Fairview, New Jersey, is charged with attempted murder and assault.

If convicted, he faces decades in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/judge-denies-bail-for-man-accused-of-attacking-sir-salman-rushdie-41921641.html Judge denies bail for man accused of assaulting Sir Salman Rushdie

Fry Electronics Team

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