The stabbing of writer Salman Rushdie on Friday at a conference in New York State was “premeditated”, told the judge, Saturday August 13, Jason Schmidt, district attorney for Chautauqua County, where the assault took place.
Charged with assault and attempted murder, the suspect – identified as Hadi Matar – pleaded not guilty at the arraignment hearing. He will appear again on August 19. The judge ordered his detention without bond after Mr Schmidt explained that the 24-year-old had planned his attack on Salman Rushdie, in particular by obtaining in advance a pass for the public event where the novelist was to speak and by arriving a day early, under a false identity.
“This was a targeted, unprovoked and premeditated attack on Mr. Rushdie”said Mr. Schmidt.
The suspect did not say a word
The prosecutor alluded to Iran’s fatwa whose author satanic verses been the subject for thirty-three years to oppose the release on bail of the suspect. “Even if this court were to set a bond of $1 million, we run the risk that the sum could be collected”did he declare.
“His own income does not matter to me. We see that the plan that was executed yesterday is something that has been vindicated by groups and organizations whose importance extends far beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of Chautauqua County”added the prosecutor.
The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white mask over his lower face, his hands cuffed in front of him. He didn’t say a word, according to the New York Times. Court-appointed lawyer Nathaniel Barone complained about the time authorities took to bring his client before the judge, while leaving him “hung on a bench in the State Police premises”. “He has the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence,” did he declare.
Mr. Barone explained after the hearing that Hadi Matar was talking to him and that he was going to try to find out more about his client, in particular about possible psychological problems or addiction to substances.
A reassuring tweet about his health
During the attack, Salman Rushdie, 75, was stabbed at least ten times in the neck and abdomen as he prepared to speak. He was treated in emergency and placed under respiratory assistance in a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, on the shores of the lake which separates the United States from Canada.
Little filtered out Saturday about his state of health, but British author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening: “Just got the most exciting news: Salman is off life support and talking (and joking). » Salman Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed the information without giving further details. Mr. Taseer’s tweet was later deleted.
On Friday, Mr Wylie explained that Mr Rushdie was on life support, had liver injuries and severed nerves in one arm and was at risk of losing an eye.
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