Hadi Matar, the suspect in the attack on author Salman Rushdie at an event in New York state, has been charged with attempted murder and is being held without bond, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s office said on Saturday.
Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, was arraigned late on Friday on charges of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree, the county’s district attorney, Jason Schmidt, said in a statement.
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.
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 was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening.
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 Shi’ite extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to NBC New York.
Matar was born in California and recently moved to New Jersey, the NBC New York report said, adding that he had a fake drivers license on him.
FBI officials went to his last listed address, in Fairview, a Bergen County borough just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, on Friday evening, NBC New York reported.
New York and New Jersey police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the NBC New York report.
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.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; additional reporting by Timour Azhari in Beirut)