Salman Rushdie attack: Author taken off ventilator, accused pleads 'not guilty'
Salman Rushdie attack: A day after author Salman Rushdie was attacked, his condition is said to be stable as he has been taken off the ventilator. Fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted that Rushdie is "now talking (and joking)", however, he still remains in the hospital due to serious injuries. Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, confirmed that information without offering further details. Meanwhile, Hadi Matar, the accused behind Rushdie's stabbing pleaded 'not guilty' to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called a “preplanned” crime.
An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him. A judge ordered him held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar, 24, took steps to purposely put himself in position to harm Rushdie, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early bearing a fake ID.
Rushdie was attacked on Friday at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center in New York. Rushdie, 75, suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, Wylie said Friday evening. He was likely to lose the injured eye.
The attack was met with shock and outrage from much of the world, along with tributes and praise for the award-winning author who for more than 30 years has faced death threats for “The Satanic Verses.” Authors, activists and government officials cited Rushdie’s courage and longtime advocacy of free speech despite the risks to his own safety.
President Joe Biden said Saturday in a statement that he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” by the attack. “Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals,” the statement read. “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society.”
As per reports, the attack is supposedly linked to his 1988 book The Satanic Verses, for which he had received a fatwa, a religious decree, by the then Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The threat forced him into hiding for several years.
Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million (roughly Rs 24 crore) reward for anyone who kills him. The Satanic Verses has been labelled 'blasphemous', which means it is believed to be addressing God with 'lack of respect'. It was his fourth book and forced him into hiding for nine years.
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