Salman Rushdie on ventilator, suspect formally charged

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Salman Rushdie on ventilator, suspect formally charged

British author Salman Rushdie attends the “GQ Awards” at the Royal Opera House in London on September 4, 2012. Rushdie was on a ventilator on Saturday after an attack and surgery on Friday. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

Local prosecutors on Saturday formally charged Salman Rushdie stabbing suspect Hadi Matar with attempted murder and assault and he was ordered held without bail.

Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., is accused of rushing the stage at the Chautauqua Institution Friday morning where Rushdie, 75, was beginning a lecture on freedom of expression and attacked him. He is accused of stabbing and punching the author without provocation.

“We have been in touch with our counterparts in the State of New Jersey where the attacker is from to share information and assist them in helping us to better understand the planning and preparation which preceded the attack so that we and the different agencies involved can determine what, if any, additional charges should be asserted,” the office said, according to the New York Post.

Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel said on Friday that the community had been “shaken to its core by an act of violence, which has reverberated across Chautauqua County and Western New York.”

In the meantime, Salman’s agent said the author may lose an eye and was on a ventilator Saturday at a New York hospital after the attack. Andrew Wiley said Rushdie, who had been in hiding for years after Iranian religious leaders called for his execution for his writing, said the author can’t speak after undergoing surgery.

“The nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was … damaged,” Wylie said, according to Politico.

Ralph Henry Reese, the moderator of Friday’s event who was onstage when Rushdie was attacked was also hospitalized for injuries to his face. He was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.

“[Rushdie is] one of the great defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of creative expression,” Reese said, according to The New York Times. “The fact that this attack could occur in the United States is indicative of the threats to writers from many governments and from many individuals and organizations.”

Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses was banned in Iran in 1988 and considered sacrilegious by some Muslims. In 1989, the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, offering $3 million for Rushdie’s death.

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