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Prosecutor says attack on Salman Rushdie 'preplanned'

Hadi Matar, 24, was arraigned Saturday afternoon in Chautauqua Co. on charges of attempted murder and assault.

MAYVILLE, N.Y. —   

The man accused in the stabbing attack on Salman Rushdie has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor calls a “preplanned” crime. 

An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York on Saturday. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him. 

A judge ordered Matar held without bail after the district attorney told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in position to harm Rushdie. The renowned author of “The Satanic Verses” remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

Matar is accused of attacking Rushdie on Friday as the author was being introduced at a lecture at the Chautauqua Institute. Rushdie suffered serious injuries in the attack and remains hospitalized.

Matar, of Fairview, NJ, is being held without bail at the Chautauqua County Jail.

President Biden issued the following statement Saturday about the incident:

Jill and I were shocked and saddened to learn of the vicious attack on Salman Rushdie yesterday in New York. We, together with all Americans and people around the world, are praying for his health and recovery. I am grateful to the first responders and the brave individuals who jumped into action to render aid to Rushdie and subdue the attacker. 

Salman Rushdie—with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced—stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society. And today, we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression. 

RELATED: Author Salman Rushdie attacked on stage at the Chautauqua Institution, suspect identified

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