Writer still in clinic: Salman Rushdie assassin pleads not guilty

Writer still in clinic
Salman Rushdie assassin pleads not guilty

On the open stage, Salman Rushdie is badly injured by a knife attacker. The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty in court. In the meantime, the writer no longer needs to be artificially ventilated.

Salman Rushdie’s assassin pleaded not guilty at a court hearing on Saturday. This was announced by his court-appointed attorney Nathaniel Barone. Hadi M. is being investigated for attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault. According to the police, the 24-year-old is being held in custody with no possibility of being released on bail.

There was no further information on a motive for the crime. Second-degree murder is a separate offense in the US legal system for the death of a human being. He can be sentenced to years in prison in New York State.

Rushdie continued to be treated at a hospital in Erie, in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania, according to US media on Saturday. The 75-year-old was attacked with a knife at an event in Chautauqua, western New York, on Friday morning. A few minutes earlier he had taken the stage to speak about persecuted artists.

Rushdie was operated on in the hospital and put on a ventilator, his literary agent Andrew Wylie told the New York Times. He’ll probably lose an eye. In addition, nerve cords in his arm were severed and his liver damaged, it was said. Later, fellow writer Aatish Taseer shared that Rushdie was no longer on artificial respiration and was already able to talk and joke.

The broadcaster NBC New York reported, citing investigators, that Hadi M. had sympathized with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and with Shiite extremism on social networks on the Internet. So far, however, no direct contacts have been established. He was born in California and recently moved to New Jersey. According to Lebanese authorities, his parents are from Lebanon.

Rushdie has been persecuted by religious fanatics for decades. The then Iranian revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, had called for the author to be killed because of his work “The Satanic Verses” from 1988. He accused Rushdie of insulting Islam, the Prophet and the Koran in his novel. Among other things, the book features a character who resembles the Prophet Mohammed.

The criticism is that Rushdie questioned the divine origin of the Koran. The death sentence was followed by Rushdie’s dramatic escape and years of hiding. He has now lived in New York for more than 20 years.

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