Man accused of assaulting Sir Salman Rushdie pleads not guilty

The man accused of stabbing Sir Salman Rushdie on stage last week has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault.

adi Matar, 24, appeared Thursday for an afternoon hearing in Chautauqua County Court in upstate New York after being indicted by a grand jury.

Pictures showed him in gray striped overalls and a white face mask, with his hands tied.


Sir Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses in 1988 (PA)

Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested after he allegedly stormed onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution on Friday, August 12 and stabbed Sir Salman about a dozen times, including in the neck and eye, in front of a crowd.

He was later charged with attempted second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and second-degree assault.

Judge David Foley refused to release Matar on bail, according to court documents.

Attorney Nathaniel Barone defended himself, arguing Matar had no criminal record and would not flee the country if released.

Mr Foley instructed the lawyers involved in the case not to give interviews to the media.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt told the court that Matar was arrested on Thursday, April 11.

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He urged Mr Foley to refuse bail, saying Matar’s “financial ability” exceeded any amount the court could determine “due to the sympathy and alignment of his personal views with an entire nation and countless other groups and organizations with.” enormous financial resources”.

Matar’s next court appearance was scheduled for September 7.


Hadi Matar appeared in court with his defense attorney, Nathaniel Barone (Joshua Bessex/AP)

Sir Salman, 75, is being treated at a Pennsylvania hospital for serious injuries and has maintained his “usual lively and defiant sense of humor” despite “life-changing” injuries, his family previously said.

His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said Sir Salman had a damaged liver and severed nerves in one arm and could lose an eye. He was weaned off a ventilator on Saturday.

Sir Salman’s life has been in danger since 1989, when Iran’s then supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued an edict demanding his death over his novel The Satanic Verses, considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

A semi-official Iranian foundation had put up a bounty of more than $3 million (£2.5 million).

The author had just taken the stage at the Lakeside Retreat to speak about protecting exiled writers and freedom of expression when the stabbing happened.

Henry Reese, 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. Man accused of assaulting Sir Salman Rushdie pleads not guilty

Fry Electronics Team

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