Salman Rushdie’s attacker has rejected a plea deal.

James Folta

July 3, 2024, 1:02pm

Photo by Elena Ternovaja

The American man who attacked writer Salman Rushdie with a knife in 2022 rejected a plea deal yesterday. The deal offered to Hadi Matar would have reduced the number of years he would spend behind bars, but also included a guilty plea to a federal charge, which carries the potential for decades more time in jail.

According to The Guardian:

The agreement would have had Matar plead guilty in Chautauqua county to attempted murder in exchange for a maximum state prison sentence of 20 years, down from 25 years. It would have also required him to plead guilty to a federal charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, which could result in an additional 20 years, attorneys said.

Matar’s attack at the Chautauqua Institution in New York left Rushdie blind in one eye and with a lengthy and difficult recovery. Rushdie has been the target of assassination threats since 1989, when his fourth novel The Satanic Verses inspired the Supreme Leader of Iran to issue a fatwa calling for the writer’s murder. Rushdie’s 2022 stabbing is likely related, though the attacker’s motivations haven’t been confirmed.

The trial was set to begin in January, but was pushed back to September so that the defense could subpoena drafts of Rushdie’s recently released memoir, Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder, in which the author relives the attack and its aftermath.

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