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Man suspected of stabbing writer Salman Rushdie pleads not guilty

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Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie, the author of the satanic verseson August 12, an attack which shocked in the West, but which was hailed by some in Muslim countries such as Iran or Pakistan.

The writer, pursued for 33 years by a fatwa from the Iranian Supreme Leader condemning him to death, had come to speak in the small town of Chautauqua, the site of an annual literary festival for decades, very close to Lake Erie which separates the United States of Canada.

Arrested immediately after the events, Hadi Matar had already pleaded not guilty during a procedural hearing last Saturday, but Thursday’s appearance before the Mayville court in the presence of the press, suggests a trial in several months.

Head lowered, masked, handcuffed and dressed in a prisoner’s outfit with black and white stripes, Mr. Matar spoke Thursday through the voice of his lawyer.

He faces up to 25 years in prison for attempted murder and up to 7 years for assault. The judge chose to keep him in detention, without the possibility of bail.

Five men carry Salman Rushdie on a stretcher to the helicopter, parked on what appears to be a baseball field.

Writer Salman Rushdie was airlifted to the nearest hospital after being stabbed multiple times.

Photo: Reuters / TWITTER @HORATIOGATES3

At the previous hearing, prosecutors called the attack premeditated.

His lawyer Nathaniel Barone stressed Thursday that his client was entitled to a fair trial and respect for the presumption of innocence.

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Questioned on Wednesday by the New York Post who claims to have contacted him in prison, Hadi Matar said to himself surprised that Salman Rushdie survived the attack.

The 75-year-old British author, stabbed a dozen times in the neck and abdomen and evacuated by helicopter to a hospital, had to briefly be placed on a ventilator before his condition improved.

Mr Matar, 24, did not say whether he was inspired by the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 from Iran.

He explained to New York Post have only esteem for the ayatollahsomeone of outstanding.

As for Salman Rushdie, Mr. Matar asserted that it is not a good man. I don’t like this personhe launched.

He is someone who attacked Islam, he added. Watching videos of the author on YouTube, he found it hypocritical.

Hadi Matar had returned “changed” and more religious from a 2018 trip to Lebanon, his family’s country of origin, his mother told the website on Monday. DailyMail.

Iran denies responsibility

Salman Rushdie, born in 1947 in India into a family of non-practicing Muslim intellectuals, angered part of the Muslim world with the publication in 1988 of satanic versesa novel judged by the most rigorous as blasphemous with regard to the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad.

Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, who had lived for years under police protection.

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Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against the writer has never been lifted and many of his translators have come under attack.

After three days of silence, Iran on Monday denied any involvement in the attack, blaming Salman Rushdie himself.

In this attack, only Salman Rushdie and his supporters deserve blame and even condemnationjudged Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Salman Rushdie, who has lived in New York for 20 years, became a US citizen in 2016.

Despite the threat, he had appeared more and more frequently in public, often without a visible escort, while continuing to champion satire and irreverence in his books.

In an interview given to the German magazine Stern a few days before the attack on Friday, he had said to himself optimistic and confided: Since I live in the United States, I have no more problems […] My life is back to normal.

Hadi Matar is due in court again on September 7 and 22, according to Judge Foley.

But Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt admitted to the press that his small court was not prepared for the shock of such a case. Investigators from the federal police, the FBI, are also investigating and nothing excludes that the case will one day be tried at the federal level.

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