The suspect in the attack on Sir Salman Rushdie has not pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
Hadi Matar, 24, was formally charged with attempted murder after the author was attacked on stage in Chautauqua, N.Y. on Friday, but his attorney denied the charges at an arraignment hearing Saturday. did.
“Hadi Matar, who was responsible for the attack, is now being formally charged with attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault,” Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said ahead of the hearing. said.
Police believe the suspect was acting alone. However, Schmidt confirmed that state and federal officials are considering whether additional charges can be added.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wiley, the author’s agent of “The Satanic Verse,” confirmed that Rushdie was on a respirator and unable to speak.
Describing the extent of Rushdie’s injuries, he said in a statement:
The Indian-born author rose to fame in the 1980s with his book Midnight’s Children, which sold over one million copies in the UK.
However, his fourth book, The Satanic Verses, forced him into hiding for ten years amid accusations that the controversial novel was blasphemous.
The book sparked anti-Rushdie riots in India and protests in various parts of the world.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, demanded Rushdie’s execution and offered $3 million as a reward.
Rushdie was born a non-practicing Muslim and is now an atheist. He has also frequently expressed his support for freedom of expression despite ongoing criticism of his work.