Home News Salman Rushdie attacker planning to reject plea deal

Salman Rushdie attacker planning to reject plea deal


The man who stabbed Salman Rushdie during an event in upstate New York in 2022 is planning to reject a plea deal, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Hadi Matar, 26, already faces several charges in connection with the Aug. 12, 2022, attack on Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. Matar was captured and held at the scene.

Rushdie eventually recovered from his wounds.

Chautauqua County prosecutors, federal prosecutors, Rushdie and Matar’s attorneys have reportedly been negotiating a plea deal for months. The deal would see Matar plead guilty to one count of attempted murder and receive a 20-year sentence in New York.

It would also involve Matar pleading guilty to a yet-to-be-filed terrorism charge in federal court, for which he could face an additional 20 years behind bars.

Rushdie approved the deal, according to attorneys, who said he was seeking a tidy resolution and hoped to avoid two trials.

But Matar has little interest in the deal, his attorney Nathaniel Barone said in county court on Tuesday. Matar has until July 2 to make an official decision.

“He’s saying, ‘What have I got to lose?’” Barone told reporters after the hearing.

Rushdie, 76, has now lived a significant portion of his life under a fatwa from the Iranian government calling for his death. In 1988, he published a novel titled “The Satanic Verses” that some Muslims consider blasphemous. Iran’s fundamentalist regime issued the order to kill him.

Novelist Salman Rushdie attends a photocall for the presentation of the German language edition of Rushdie's book "Knife. Meditations After an Attempted Murder" at the Deutsches Theater on May 16, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. In the book Rushdie confronts the attack in 2022 that left him blind in one eye. He and his wife met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Novelist Salman Rushdie attends a photocall for the presentation of the German language edition of Rushdie’s book “Knife. Meditations After an Attempted Murder” at the Deutsches Theater on May 16, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

After years in hiding, Rushdie reemerged into public life in the late 1990s and became a symbol of free speech throughout Western Europe and the U.S.

Rushdie wrote a book after the attack, titled “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder.” He is also on the witness list to testify if Matar goes to trial.

With News Wire Services

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