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Hadi Matar pleads not guilty to attempted murder of Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

The man accused of stabbing Sir Salman Rushdie pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault, as the renowned author of The Satanic Verses remained in hospital with serious injuries.

A lawyer for Hadi Matar, 24, entered the plea on his behalf during a formal hearing at a court in western New York.

Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him.

A judge ordered him to be held without bail after district attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in a position to harm Sir Salman, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early with a fake ID.

“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr Rushdie,” Mr Schmidt said.

Sir Salman suffered serious injuries and is in hospital on a ventilator and may lose an eye, his agent has said.

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Rushdie had started to believe ‘life was normal again’ before attack

Salman Rushdie believed his life was “very normal again” just weeks before he was attacked on stage in New York.

The author told a journalist at German news magazine Stern that he would have been in a lot more danger if social media had been around when he wrote The Satanic Verses.

He said: “A fatwa is a serious thing. Luckily we didn’t have the internet back then. The Iranians had to send the fatwa to the mosques by fax. That’s all a long time ago. Nowadays my life is very normal again.”

He said he was no longer afraid of “religious fanaticism”. “The biggest danger facing us right now is that we lose our democracy,” he said.

“Since the supreme court abortion verdict I have been seriously concerned that the US won’t manage that. That the problems are irreparable and the country will break apart. Today’s greatest danger facing us is this kind of cryptofascism that we see in America and elsewhere.”

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EU chief condemns Rushdie attack

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday that he “strongly” condemns the attack on writer Salman Rushdie.

“International rejection of such criminal actions, which violate fundamental rights and freedoms, is the only path towards a better and more peaceful world”, Borrell said in his tweet.

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Attack on Rushdie was ‘pre-planned’, says lawyer

The man accused of stabbing Sir Salman Rushdie pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault, in what a prosecutor called a “pre-planned” crime, as the renowned author of The Satanic Verses remained in hospital with serious injuries.

A lawyer for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during a formal hearing at a court in western New York.

Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him.

A judge ordered him to be held without bail after district attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in a position to harm Sir Salman, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early with a fake ID.

“This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr Rushdie,” Mr Schmidt said.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone said the authorities had taken too long to get Matar in front of a judge, while leaving him “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks”.

“He has that constitutional right of presumed innocence,” Mr Barone added.

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Rushdie’s wounds include a puncture wound to his right eye

Salman Rushdie’s injuries include three stab wounds to the right side of the front of his neck and a puncture wound to his right eye, Chautauqua’s county district attorney has said.

The author also has four stab wounds to his stomach, a puncture wound to his check, and a laceration on his right thigh, the attorney said.

The details of his injuries were provided during suspect Matar’s arraignment.

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Read the latest news about the attack on Salman Rushdie here:

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Justin Trudeau joins political leaders expressing shock at Rushdie attack

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that the attack on author Salman Rushdie is a strike on the freedom of expression.

“No one should be threatened or harmed on the basis of what they have written. I’m wishing him a speedy recovery,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

(Getty Images)

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Breaking: Suspect enters not guilty plea – Associated Press

The suspect in the attack on ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie has entered a not-guilty plea in a New York court.

Hadi Matar, 24, has been charged with attempted murder and assault, prosecutors said on Saturday.

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Suspected attacker denied bail from custody

The suspected attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, was transported and arraigned at Chautauqua County Jail on Saturday.

The man suspected of stabbing Sir Salman Rushdie is being remanded in custody without bail after being charged with attempted murder and assault, New York state police have said.

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan ‘sickened’ by attack on Rushdie

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Who is Salman Rushdie and why is he controversial?

Who is Salman Rushdie and why is he controversial?

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