Salman Rushdie is off ventilator and communicating, agent reports

Salman Rushdie, the author, was taken off a ventilator and able to speak on Saturday, a day after he was stabbed repeatedly as he prepared to deliver a lecture in upstate New York.

Rushdie remained in the hospital with critical injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted later that night that he was ‘off the ventilator and talking (and laughing).’

Taseer then removed his tweet, but Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, informed the Associated Press that the information Taseer revealed was true, but no additional specifics were provided.

Rushdie was severely injured in the incident, with Wylie earlier stating that the author had a damaged liver, cut nerves in one arm, and would most certainly lose an eye.

Earlier in the day, the man accused of assaulting him at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat organization, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor described as a ‘preplanned’ atrocity.

During an arraignment in western New York, Hadi Matar’s counsel entered the plea on his behalf. The defendant arrived in court with his wrists shackled in front of him, wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask.

Matar, 24, was ordered detained without bail by a court after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her he took efforts to intentionally place himself in a position to injure Rushdie, including obtaining an advance ticket to the event where the author was speaking and coming a day early with a phony ID.

Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio, was among the doctors who came to Rushdie’s help after the incident.
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Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio, was among the doctors who came to Rushdie’s help after the incident.

Meanwhile, a physician who observed Salman Rushdie’s stabbing at a western New York event reported that, despite the presence of two officers working as security, it was the audience that eventually stepped in to stop the perpetrator.

‘The crowd calmed the offender, and the state patrolmen promptly arrested him,’ said Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio. According to Haskell, Rushdie had a state policeman and another sheriff’s officer present as security for the event, but the knife-wielding intruder still seemed to rush onto the stage unimpeded.

It’s unknown where the cops were when the incident happened.

The trooper and deputy were deployed ‘to provide security at the event at the request of the Chautauqua Institution,’ according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Police.

Haskell said that attendees spotted the suspect, 24-year-old Hezbollah sympathizer and New Jersey native Hadi Matar, on the Chautauqua Institution grounds since Tuesday.

‘He’d been here for a number of days, probably scoping out the house. ‘It wasn’t something that simply occurred,’ Haskell said. Rushdie’s life has been threatened since the late Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s Islamic revolution leader, issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his murder in response to the release of the author’s book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims considered as blasphemous.

Haskell was certain Matar had no ties to the Chautauqua community.This still image from video shows a man being escorted from the stage as people tend to author Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie is off ventilator and communicating, agent reportsHadi Matar, 24, center, arrives for an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, NY on SaturdayAuthor Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and able to talk Saturday, a day after he was stabbed in upstate New York and airlifted (above) to hospital for emergency surgery

During Matar’s arraignment on Saturday, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said that the suspect arrived in the region by bus at least one day before the incident and purchased a ticket to the event on Wednesday.

‘This was a premeditated, unprovoked assault on Mr. Rushdie,’ Schmidt added.

According to the Chautauqua Institution’s website, Rushdie went there to take part in a conversation about the United States as a safe haven for authors and other artists in exile, as well as a safe haven for freedom of speech.

The amphitheater where Rushdie was assaulted was characterized by the doctor as a horseshoe, with the stage accessible from three sides. The stage is three feet above the ground. According to the doctor, it was’extremely simple for [Matar] to move quite swiftly.’

Haskell said that he was around 100 feet away from the incident and did not hear Matar say anything previous to the stabbing.

He did note that it was’very difficult’ for members of the public to overpower Matar. The assailant was characterized as ‘furious’ and ‘angry’ by Haskell.

Matar joined the State of Fitness Boxing Club, a small, tightly knit gym in nearby North Bergen, on April 11 and participated in about 27 group sessions for beginners looking to improve their fitness before emailing her several days ago to cancel his membership because ‘he wouldn’t be coming back for a while,’ according to Rosaria Calabrese, manager of the State of Fitness Boxing Club.

Desmond Boyle, the proprietor of the gym, claimed he saw ‘nothing aggressive’ in Matar, describing him as courteous and quiet but constantly looking ‘tremendously unhappy.’ He said that Matar refused his and others’ efforts to welcome and engage him.

‘Every time he came in, he gave me this look. ‘It seemed to be the worst day of his life,’ Boyle added. According to Dr. Haskell, Rushdie’s injuries included “bleeding most likely from his jugular vein since the bleeding was extensive but it wasn’t the carotid artery.”

He said that there were several medics there at the occasion who rushed to Rushdie’s rescue.

Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to talk after suffering a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, according to his agent Andrew Wylie on Friday evening. Rushdie was almost certainly going to lose his wounded eye.

Dr. Haskell said that the stab wounds in his belly would most certainly need surgery. According to the doctor, Rushdie’s liver would have been damaged as a result of the abdominal stab wounds.

The heavy bleeding was the most significant harm. He had a blood loss of one pint. While we waited for emergency supplies, such as IV fluids, efforts were made to keep his blood pressure up.’Gym owner Desmond Boyle said he saw 'nothing violent' about Matar, describing him as polite and quiet, yet someone who always looked 'tremendously sad'Dr. Haskell said Rushdie's injuries included 'bleeding most likely from his jugular vein because the bleeding was profuse but it probably wasn't the carotid artery'

‘There was a lot of shock. Chautauqua Facility is an extremely secure institution. It’s a vacation community. It is regarded as quite safe. So there was shock, amazement, and a ‘How could this happen here?’ response, but no fear.’

‘People were asked to leave, and they left extremely orderly.’New Jersey Police officers stand guard near the building where alleged attacker Hadi Matar, lives in Fairview, New Jersey

Matar pleaded not guilty on Saturday to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor described as a “preplanned” atrocity.

During his arraignment in western New York, Matar’s counsel entered the plea on his behalf. The defendant arrived in court with his wrists shackled in front of him, wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask.

After District Attorney Schmidt informed her that Matar purposefully placed himself in a position to injure Rushdie, obtaining an advance ticket to the event where the author was speaking and coming a day early with a phony ID, a court ordered him imprisoned without bail.

According to public counsel Nathaniel Barone, officials took too long to bring Matar in front of a court, leaving him “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks.”

‘He has the constitutional right to be deemed innocent,’ said Barone.

Matar was born in the United States to parents who came from Yaroun in southern Lebanon, according to the mayor of the hamlet, Ali Tehfe.

A Hezbollah spokesman said that they had “no knowledge” of Matar’s strike and refused to comment.

When informed about his former stepson, Fouad Komayah, who was married to Matar’s mother, sobbed and stated he had “no knowledge” about his political inclinations.

‘Hadi?’ he said to DailyMail.com. No! Hadi? Hadi? Hadi is a wonderful young man; he is intelligent and has a kind heart. He never touched anybody.’

Matar was described yesterday night as a recluse who had lived in a separate house in Fairview, New Jersey, with his mother and two sisters for the previous three years. ‘They’re just a typical, wonderful, American family,’ one neighbor remarked.

‘There were no red signals with him.’ We discussed working out, fitness, and eating. We used to go boxing together, but we didn’t spar; instead, we did leaping and punching a bag.

‘I would say he was a loner, and I didn’t see him with friends or mingle much.’

 

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