Writer Salman Rushdie got to say a few words: Assailant pleads not guilty to attempted murder
Sylvie Claire / August 14, 2022
Salman Rushdie is better. After his agent spoke on Saturday, it was Michael Hill, the president of the Chautauqua institution where the attack took place, who announced on Twitter that the respiratory aid given to the writer had been stopped.
The assailant of Salman Rushdie, a young American of Lebanese origin, was presented to a judge of the State of New York in front of which he pleaded not guilty of attempted murder of the writer, still hospitalized in a serious condition but who was able to say a few words Saturday evening.
At a procedural hearing in Chautauqua court, Hadi Matar, 24, who is being prosecuted for attempted murder and assault, appeared in a black-and-white striped prisoner's outfit, handcuffed and masked, and did not say a word, according to the New York Times (NYT) and local press photos.
Threatened with death since a 1989 Iranian fatwa, a year after the publication of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie was stabbed a dozen times on Friday, an attack that outrages the West but is welcomed by extremists in Iran and Pakistan.
Prosecutors said Friday's attack at a cultural center in Chautauqua, where Rushdie was to give a lecture, was premeditated. The 75-year-old intellectual was stabbed at least ten times in the neck and abdomen.
The suspect, who lives in New Jersey, pleaded not guilty through his lawyer and will appear again on August 19.
The attack caused a shock wave, especially in Western countries: U.S. President Joe Biden condemned a brutal attack and paid tribute to Mr. Rushdie for his refusal to be intimidated and silenced.