Hadi Matar, who stabbed Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie in Western New York state on Friday, has been charged with attempted murder and assault, local media reported on Saturday.
According to a statement from the Chautauqua County District Attorney, the 24-year-old attacker rushed to the stage at the Chautauqua Institution yesterday morning where 75-year-old Rushdie was beginning a lecture on freedom of expression, New York Post reported.
“We have been in touch with our counterparts in the State of New Jersey where the attacker is from to share information and assist them in helping us to better understand the planning and preparation which preceded the attack so that we and the different agencies involved can determine what, if any, additional charges should be asserted,” the DA’s office said, as per the publication.
“We will try to be as transparent as we can without compromising the case,” it added.
New York State Police had identified the suspect earlier.
“The suspect has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey. Earlier today, approx. at 10:47 am, the speaker Rushdie,75 and Henry Reese,73 had just arrived at the stage of the institution and shortly thereafter the suspect jumped out of the stage and attacked at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen,” State Police Troop Commander Major Eugene J. Staniszewski had said at a news conference.
Rushdie, who faced death threats over his book ‘The Satanic Verses’, was stabbed on stage in Western New York state.
The New York State Police said in a statement that a male suspect ran up onto the stage prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua and attacked Rushdie.
It said the author suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. A suspect has been taken into custody.
The seventy-five-year-old author caught the limelight for his novel ‘Midnight’s Children’ in 1981.
His 1988 book ‘The Satanic Verses’ led to a fatwa, a religious decree, by the then Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The threat forced him into hiding for several years.
The attack on Rushdie has drawn wide international condemnation.
“Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend. Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay,” he said in a tweet.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was shocked and appalled to hear of the unprovoked and senseless attack on Sir Salman Rushdie.
“Freedom of expression is a value we hold dear and attempts to undermine it must not be tolerated. My thoughts are with Sir Salman and his family.”
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said they can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil.
“PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at the word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie, who was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York,” Nossel said. (ANI)