MAYVILLE, NY –
A grand jury has indicted the man who stabbed Salman Rushdie as the famous author prepared for a talk in western New York, county prosecutors said on Thursday.
Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, is scheduled to appear in court at an afternoon hearing in Chautauqua County. Matar was arrested on August 12 after he rushed onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institute, stabbing Rushdie several times in front of a horrified crowd.
The initial charges were filed the next day, when Matar’s court-appointed attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf. The prosecutor’s office did not immediately issue new charges.
Rushdie, 75, is being treated at a Pennsylvania hospital for serious injuries. His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said Rushdie suffered liver damage and a severed nerve in one arm, and could lose an eye.
Rushdie’s life has been in jeopardy since 1989 when the supreme leader of Iran at the time, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued an edict requiring him to die for his novel “The Satanic Verses”, which was widely acclaimed. Muslims consider it blasphemous.
A semi-official Iranian organization posted a bounty of more than $3 million.
Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt called the attack “premeditated.”
The author had just taken the stage at a quiet casual lakeside retreat to discuss measures to protect writers in exile and freedom of expression when Matar jumped on stage.
Henry Reese, 73, co-founder of the Pittsburgh Refugee City, was on stage with Rushdie and suffered a slash to his forehead, bruises and other minor injuries.