Hadi Matar, the suspect in the stabbing of author Salman Rushdie at an event in New York state, has been charged with attempted murder and is being held without bond, prosecutors in Chautauqua County said on Saturday.
The 24-year-old man from New Jersey was arraigned late on Friday, accused of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree, the county’s district attorney, Jason Schmidt, said in a statement.
Indian-born author Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after Iran urged Muslims to kill him over his novel The Satanic Verses, was stabbed in the neck and torso on stage at a lecture on Friday. After hours of surgery, Rushdie remained in hospital on a ventilator and unable to speak. He was likely to lose one eye.
Schmidt said state and federal law enforcement agencies, including in New Jersey, were working to understand the planning and preparation which preceded the attack and determine whether additional charges should be filed.
Reuters could not immediately establish whether Matar, who bought a pass to the event at western New York’s Chautauqua Institution, had legal representation.
A preliminary law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts showed he was sympathetic to Shiite extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), NBC News reported.
Matar was born in California and recently moved to New Jersey, the report said, adding that he had a fake drivers licence on him.
Police said on Friday they had not established a motive for the attack on Rushdie, 75, who was being introduced to give a talk to an audience of hundreds on artistic freedom when the attacker rushed to the stage and lunged at the novelist. Rushdie has lived with a bounty on his head since 1989.