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Suspect in Salman Rushdie attack to appear in court on Thursday

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Reuters

MAYVILLE — The Last Week , a man suspected of stabbing novelist Salman Rushdie in western New York will appear in court on Thursday afternoon for arraignment, prosecutors said. Matar was accused of injuring 75-year-old Rushdie on Friday just before the author of "The Satanic Verse" gave an on-stage lecture at an educational retreat near Lake Erie.

He is scheduled for arraignment at 1:00 pm. EDT, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said in an email:

The suspect appeared in county court Saturday and pleaded not guilty to his one count of attempted second-degree murder and an additional count of second-degree assault after prosecutors filed a criminal complaint. did.

He was remanded without bail.

The attack was followed by Iran's then-supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa, or edict, calling on Muslims to assassinate Rushdie the year following the publication of the Satanic Verse. It happened 33 years after he started.

The Indian-born writer has lived with a bounty over a book that some Muslims say contains blasphemous passages about Islam.

In 1998, President Mohammad Khatami's pro-reform government of Iran distanced itself from Fatwa and said the threat to Rushdie, who had lived in hiding for nine years, was over. But in his 2019, Twitter suspended Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's account, citing a tweet that said the fatwa against Rushdie was "irrevocable."

Political leaders, including the US and UK, called last week's attack an attack on free speech.

In an interview published in the New York Post on Wednesday, Matar said he admired Khomeini but did not say whether he was inspired by the fatwa.

"I don't really like him," Matar said of Rushdie. "He is the one who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, their belief systems." said. Police say Matar is believed to have acted alone and his motives are unknown.

His attorney, Nathaniel Barrone, said he was not told anything about the Post's interviews and did not allow conversations with outside sources. rice field.

Matar of Lebanese descent is a California-born Shiite Muslim-American.

According to the New York Times, prosecutors said he bussed to Chautauqua Institute, about 12 miles (19 km) from Lake Erie, where he purchased a pass to Rushdie's lectures. Says.

Witnesses state that no apparent security checks on him were made and that Matar said nothing when he attacked the author. He was arrested at the scene by state police after being knocked to the ground by an audience member.

Rushdie was severely injured in the attack and could have suffered nerve damage in his arm, liver damage and the loss of an eye, his agent said. (Reporting by Tyler Clifford, New York; Editing by Deepa Babington)