MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – The man accused of attacking award-winning author Salman Rushdie will appear in court on Thursday afternoon as part of a special hearing to discuss the case.
24-year-old Hadi Matar, who is currently behind bars at Chautauqua County Jail, will appear before a judge at 1 p.m. Thursday. Reports indicate he will be formally indicted by a grand jury.
Matar pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon over the past weekend.
He is accused of jumped onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution last Friday and lunging toward author Salman Rushdie, repeatedly stabbing him. The suspect was held down by audience members and staff who forced him to the ground until he was arrested by a state trooper.
Rushdie lived in hiding after his novel “The Satanic Verses” was published in 1988, drawing criticism from some Muslims who considered it sacrilegious. A late Iranian leader described the book as an insult to Islam and the faith’s Prophet Mohammed, issuing at the time a religious decree, calling for Rushdie’s death.
Speaking to the New York Post from jail this week, Hadi Matar said he decided to see Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution after he saw a tweet last winter about the writer’s planned appearance.
Matar said he considered the late Iranian leader “a great person” but wouldn’t say whether he was out to collect a three-million-dollar bounty.
The Post reports that Matar bought a pass to the Chautauqua Institution grounds and then slept in the grass the night before Rushdie’s planned talk last Friday.
Matar was born in the U.S. but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born.
As for Salman Rushdie’s Road to recovery, he was reported to be awake and “articulate” in his conversations with investigators this week. He is currently undergoing treatment at UPMC Hamot in Hospital.
The author suffered three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh.
Doctors fear that Rushdie may lose sight in his right eye.