Updated Aug 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Suspect in Salman Rushdie attack pleads not guilty, held without bail

A view from the round of the house of Salman Rushdie attack suspect 24-year-old Hadi Matar.
A view near the house of Salman Rushdie attack suspect. Photo: Islam Dogru/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie in the neck and abdomen has pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and assault charges Thursday, Chautauqua County district attorney Madeline Contiguglia confirmed to Axios.

The latest: Suspect Hadi Matar was indicted by a grand jury Thursday. He is being held without bail, Reuters reports.

  • He was arraigned Thursday in Chautauqua County court on an indictment by the Chautauqua County grand jury, Contiguglia told Axios.

Flashback: New York police said last Saturday that Matar had been arrested on attempted murder and assault charges.

  • New York State Police pointed to its press release when asked for comment.

Catch up quick: Rushdie was attacked Friday while on stage at a speaking event in New York.

  • Audience members intervened and restrained the attacker, police said Friday.
  • “It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing,” Linda Abrams, who attended the lecture, told the Times. “He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast.”
  • Rushdie's agent, Andrew Wylie, told the New York Times that the author is still on a ventilator and that he will likely lose an eye because of the attack. His liver was also damaged, Wylie said.

Rushdie spent years in hiding after he was threatened for his book "The Satanic Verses," which is based on the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

  • Many Muslims consider the book to be "blasphemous."

What they're saying: "This act of violence is appalling," said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a statement. "All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery. "

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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