Salman Rushdie is no longer on a ventilator, his attacker pleads not guilty to attempted murder

Salman Rushdie is no longer on a ventilator, his attacker pleads not guilty to attempted murder

Author Salman Rushdie, seriously injured after being stabbed on Friday while preparing to give a talk in western New York, was able to speak a few words on Saturday and is no longer on life support, his agent said. . The state of health of the British writer, aged 75, stabbed at least ten times in the neck and abdomen, remains worrying.

The authorities and relatives of Salman Rushdie have remained silent on the state of health of the British naturalized American. He was hospitalized on Friday on life support in Erie, Pennsylvania, on the edge of the lake that separates the United States from Canada. Only his agent gave some information to the New York Times.

A premeditated act?

Salman Rushdie has been threatened with death since a “fatwa” pronounced by the Iranian Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini in 1989, a year after the publication of the “Satanic Verses”, and which has never been lifted since.

Prosecutors said Friday’s attack at a Chautauqua cultural center was premeditated. His assailant, Hadi Matar, 24, a young American of Lebanese origin, was presented this Saturday to a judge in New York State. He is being prosecuted for “attempted murder and assault”.

During the procedural hearing at the Chautauqua court, Hadi Matar appeared in a black and white striped prison uniform, handcuffed and masked, and did not say a word, according to the New York Times and photos from the local press. The suspect, who lives in New Jersey, has pleaded “not guilty” by the voice of his lawyer and will appear again on August 19.

Information is trickling in on the alleged attacker, who was arrested very quickly after rushing to the stage to attack Salman Rushdie. In southern Lebanon, Ali Qassem Tahfa, the village chief of Yaroun, told AFP that Hadi Matar was “of Lebanese origin”. The young man “was born and raised in the United States. His mother and father are from Yaroun,” he said.

“Daily death threats”

Living in New York for 20 years, the author Salman Rushdie had resumed a more or less normal life, while the fatwa pronounced against him had, for years, forced him to hide and change his name.

Coincidentally, the German magazine Stern interviewed him a few days ago, before the attack: “Since I have been living in the United States, I no longer have any problem (…) My life is back to normal”, assured the writer, in this interview to be published on August 18, saying he is “optimistic” despite “daily death threats”.

VIDEO. Writer Salman Rushdie stabbed in the neck during a conference in New York State

In the United States, the giant Amazon reported an increase in orders for “Satanic Verses” and the New York bookstore Strand Bookstore told AFP that “people came to see what he wrote and know what we had” in stock.

Biden condemns ‘brutal attack’

The President of the United States on Saturday condemned the “brutal attack” the day before against the writer. In a statement, Joe Biden hailed Mr Rushdie for his refusal “to be bullied or silenced” and said with his wife Jill Biden “together with all Americans and people around the world praying for his health and recovery. “.

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