Salman Rushdie’s attacker pleads not guilty plea to attempted murder and assault charges

After being stabbed repeatedly as he was ready to deliver a lecture in upstate New York on Friday, author Salman Rushdie was taken off a ventilator and was able to speak on Saturday.

Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio, was one of the physicians who rushed to Rushdie's aid following the attack
Rushdie was still in the hospital with critical wounds, but in the evening, fellow writer Aatish Taseer tweeted that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and laughing).”

Taseer subsequently removed his tweet, but Andrew Wylie, Rushdie’s agent, informed the Associated Press that Taseer’s information was accurate without providing any other evidence.

Wylie earlier claimed that Rushdie would probably lose an eye as well as having a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm as a result of the assault.

In a “preplanned” act, according to the prosecutor, the man accused of assaulting him on Friday at the nonprofit education and retreat institution Chautauqua Institution entered a not guilty plea to attempted murder and assault charges.

During an arraignment in western New York, Hadi Matar’s lawyer entered the plea on his behalf.

The defendant showed up in court with his hands shackled in front of him, dressed in a black and white jumpsuit with a white face mask.

Hadi Matar, 24, center, arrives for an arraignment in the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville, NY on Saturday

After hearing from the district attorney that Matar, 24, had taken efforts to place himself in a position to hurt Rushdie by obtaining an advance permit to the event where the author was speaking and showing up a day early with a phoney ID, the court ordered him jailed without bail.

Meanwhile, a doctor who saw Salman Rushdie be stabbed at an event in western New York said that despite the presence of two police officers serving as security, it took the intervention of the audience to bring the assailant under control.

Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio, told that “the crowd restrained the attacker and the state patrolmen promptly afterwards detained him.”

Haskell said that Rushdie had a state policeman and another sheriff’s deputy on hand to serve as security for the occasion, but the knife-wielding attacker still seemed to rush onto the stage unhindered.

The cops’ exact location at the time of the stabbing is unknown.

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.

Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old Hezbollah sympathiser who was born in New Jersey, has been seen on the Chautauqua Institution grounds since Tuesday, according to Haskell.

He had reportedly been investigating the area for a few days. Haskell said that it wasn’t something that suddenly appeared out of the blue.

Since the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the architect of Iran’s Islamic revolution, issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for Rushdie’s execution in response to the release of the author’s book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims deemed blasphemous, Rushdie’s life has been in danger.

Haskell was certain Matar had no ties to the Chautauqua neighbourhood.

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

Schmidt said, “This was a deliberate, premeditated assault on Mr. Rushdie.

Rushdie was visiting the Chautauqua Institution, according to its website, to take part in a conversation about the country’s role as a haven for artistic freedom and a haven for authors and other exiled creators.

The doctor described the horseshoe-shaped amphitheatre where Rushdie was assaulted as having access to the stage from three sides. Only three feet separate the stage from the ground.

It was “extremely simple for [Matar] to move really rapidly,” the doctor said.

Haskell said that he was around 100 feet away from the scene of the assault and that Matar had not spoken to him before the stabbing.

He did admit that it was “extremely hard” for the general population to control Matar. The assailant was ‘furious’ and ‘mad,’ according to Haskell.

Rosaria Calabrese, the manager of the small, close-knit State of Fitness Boxing Club in nearby North Bergen, said Matar joined on April 11 and took part in roughly 27 group fitness sessions for beginners before emailing her a few days later to request to cancel his membership because “he wouldn’t be coming back for a while.”

Desmond Boyle, the proprietor of the gym, claimed he saw “nothing aggressive” about Matar and described him as calm and courteous but with a “tremendously sad” expression on his face all the time. He said that despite their best efforts to interact and embrace Matar, he rebuffed them.

He always entered the room with this expression. Boyle said, “It seemed to be the worst day of his life.

Rushdie suffered injuries that included “bleeding most likely from his jugular vein since the bleeding was copious but it wasn’t likely the carotid artery,” according to Dr. Haskell.

He said that Rushdie was immediately attended to by many medics who were there at the occasion.

According to his agent Andrew Wylie, Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to talk.

This still image from video shows a man being escorted from the stage as people tend to author Salman Rushdie

He also had a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye. Rushdie’s wounded eye was probably going to be lost.

The knife wounds in his belly, according to Dr. Haskell, would probably need surgery.

According to the doctor, Rushdie’s liver would have been damaged by those abdominal stabbings.

The extensive bleeding was the most severe harm. A pint of his blood was lost.

While we waited for emergency supplies, IV fluids, efforts were made to maintain his blood pressure.

The shock was intense. The Chautauqua Institution is an extremely secure place. It’s a seasonal neighbourhood. It is regarded as quite secure. So, while there was astonishment and a sense of “How could this happen here?” there was clearly no panic.

“People were asked to leave, and they left extremely orderly,” said the witness.

Matar entered a not guilty plea on Saturday to accusations of attempted murder and assault in what the prosecution described as a “preplanned” act.

Matar’s plea was submitted at an arraignment in western New York by his lawyer.

The defendant showed up in court with his hands shackled in front of him, dressed in a black and white jumpsuit with a white face mask.

After hearing from the district attorney that Matar had taken efforts to place himself in a position to injure Rushdie by obtaining an advance permit to the event where the author was speaking and coming a day early with a phoney ID, the court ordered him jailed without bail.

Nathaniel Barone, the public lawyer, claimed that it had taken too long for Matar to appear before a court and that they had left him “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks.”

He is entitled to the presumption of innocent under the Constitution, Barone said.

According to Ali Tehfe, the mayor of the community, Matar was born in America to parents who had fled Yaroun in southern Lebanon.

A Hezbollah representative refused to comment, claiming they “don’t know anything” about Matar’s assault.

When informed of the news of his former stepson, Fouad Komayah, who was married to Matar’s mother, sobbed and claimed to have “no knowledge” of his political leanings.

He reportedly said to, “Hadi? No! Hadi? Hadi? Hadi is a wonderful young man who is intelligent and kind. He wouldn’t interact with anybody.

Matar was described as a recluse last night. It is thought that he has spent the last three years living in a detached home in Fairview, New Jersey, with his mother and two sisters.

One neighbour said, “They are a typical, very polite, very American family.”

I never saw any warning signs with him. We discussed exercise, fitness, and diet.

We used to box together, but we didn’t practise sparring; instead, we focused on leaping and hitting a bag rather than the heavier techniques.

“I’d say he was a loner; I never saw him with friends; I don’t believe he socialised much.”

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