A grand jury has indicted the man who allegedly stabbed Salman Rushdie as the acclaimed author prepared to give a lecture in western New York, county prosecutors said Thursday.
Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, NJ, is scheduled to appear on the charges at an afternoon hearing in Chautauqua County. Matar was arrested on August 12 after allegedly rushing the Chautauqua establishment scene, stabbing Rushdie repeatedly in front of a horrified crowd.
The original charges were filed the following day, when Matar’s public defender pleaded “not guilty” on his behalf. The prosecutor’s office did not immediately release the new charges.
Suspect reportedly surprised Rushdie survived
Matar reportedly said in an interview published Wednesday that he was surprised to learn that the accomplished author had survived the attack.
Speaking to the New York Post from prison, Matar said he decided to see Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution after seeing a tweet last winter about the writer’s planned appearance.
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“I don’t like this person. I don’t think he’s a very good person,” Matar told the newspaper. “He is someone who attacked Islam. He attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”
Matar, 24, said he considers late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to be “a great person”, but did not say whether he was following a fatwa, or edict, issued by Khomeini in Iran in 1989 which called for Rushdie’s death after the author’s publication. satanic verses.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attack. Matar said he had no contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He told the Post that he had only read “a few pages” of satanic verses.
Rushdie, 75, suffered liver damage and severed nerves in an arm and eye, according to his agent, in Friday’s attack. His agent, Andrew Wylie, says his condition has improved and he is on the road to recovery.
Matar, who is charged with attempted murder and assault, told the Post he took a bus to Buffalo the day before the attack and then took a Lyft for the 40-mile trip from there to Chautauqua. He allegedly bought a pass to the grounds of the Chautauqua facility, then slept on the grass the night before Rushdie’s scheduled lecture.
Matar was born in the United States but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. His mother told reporters in interviews that Matar returned changed from a visit to see his father in Lebanon in 2018. After that, he became sullen and withdrew from his family, she said .
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front burner29:03The fatwa on Salman Rushdie, 3 decades later