Salman Rushdie stabbing suspect charged with attempted murder

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The man suspected of stabbing Salman Rushdie at an event in the United States on Friday has been charged with attempted murder.

Hadi Matar has been remanded in custody without bail after pleading not guilty, said the prosecutor in Chautauqua County, New York State.

Mr Matar is accused of running onto the stage and attacking Mr Rushdie and an interviewer at the event held by a local educational centre.

The writer is in a critical condition.

Mr Rushdie, 75, has faced years of death threats for his novel The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims see as blasphemous.

Police detained Mr Matar from Fairview, New Jersey, shortly after the attack at the Chautauqua Institution.

Appearing in court on Saturday afternoon, the suspect wore a facemask and prison uniform before entering his plea of not guilty.

“This is the very early stage of what will invariably be a protracted legal process,” District Attorney Jason Schmidt said in a statement.

  • The writer who emerged from hiding

There has been an outpouring of support for Mr Rushdie, with the attack condemned as an assault on freedom of expression.

Later on Saturday, President Joe Biden said in a statement that he was “shocked and saddened” by the “vicious attack”.

Mr Rushdie had refused to be “intimidated or silenced” in his career, and stood for “essential, universal ideals”, Mr Biden added.

The writer was stabbed at least 10 times – including in the face, neck and abdomen, which damaged his liver, authorities said.

He has been put on a ventilator, is unable to speak, and may lose one eye, his agent said.

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The interviewer who was with Mr Rushdie, Henry Reese, suffered a minor head injury. Mr Reese is the co-founder of a non-profit organisation that provides Sanctuary Tulum to writers exiled under threat of persecution.

No motive has yet been confirmed by police, who said on Friday that they wanted to examine a backpack and electronic devices found at the centre Ibogaine treatment in america.

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