Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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Salman Rushdie's Attacker Indicted For Attempted Murder, Assault

Salman Rushdie's attacker has been indicted with a count of second-degree attempted murder and a count of second degree assault, as per a report.

Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man who stabbed Salman Rushdie.
Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man who stabbed Salman Rushdie. AP

A grand jury has indicted the man who attacked Salman Rushdie, said prosecutors said on Thursday.

The man, Hadi Matar, 24, is scheduled to appear on the charges at an afternoon court hearing in Chautauqua County. 

Matar's lawyer Nathaniel Barone told Reuters that a grand jury has indicted his client on one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of assault in the second degree.

Matar was arrested on August 12 after he rushed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbed Rushdie multiple times in front of a horrified crowd. Initial charges were filed the next day when Matar's court-appointed lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. The prosecutor's office did not immediately release the new charges.

Rushdie, 75, is getting treatment in a Pennsylvania hospital for severe wounds. His literary agent Andrew Wylie has said Rushdie had a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and could lose an eye.

Rushdie's life has been in jeopardy since 1989 when Iran's Supreme Leader at the time, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued an edict demanding his death over his novel The Satanic Verses, which was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims. A semiofficial Iranian foundation had posted a bounty of over $3 million. The attacker has suspected sympathy to Iran and one of its armed forces called the IRGC.

NBC News reported, citing US law enforcement sources, that while the motive of the attack is uncertain at the moment, Matar's social media accounts show he is "sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps causes".

"There are no definitive links to the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] but the initial assessment indicates he is sympathetic to the Iranian government group, the official says," reported NBC News.

The IRGC is a Iranian armed force that functions parallelly to the regular military. However, it's not answerable to the country's government as it's answers to Iran's Supreme Leader. This way, IRGC is the personal swordarm of Iran's Supreme Leader.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt called the attack "preplanned". 

Rusdie had just taken the stage at the normally tranquil lakeside retreat for a discussion of protections for writers in exile and freedom of expression when Matar jumped onstage. Henry Reese, 73, the cofounder of Pittsburgh's City of Asylum, was onstage with Rushdie and suffered a gash to his forehead, bruising and other minor injuries. 

(With AP inputs)

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