The assault on Salman Rushdie during a conference at the Chautauqua Cultural Center in New York State sent shock waves around the world. Stabbed a dozen times in the neck, face and liver, the author of The Satanic Verses was hospitalized just after the attack, on August 12, 2022, in Erie, in the State of Pennsylvania, not far from the Canadian border.

His alleged assailant, Hadi Matar, was arrested seconds after the attack. A 24-year-old American of Lebanese origin, he is being prosecuted for “attempted murder and assault”. AFP reports that the accused remained silent during his procedural hearing in the Chautauqua court; he pleaded “not guilty” through the voice of his lawyer. His motives are not known at this time.

Relatives of Salman Rushdie have so far given little information on his state of health. Placed on life support, the 75-year-old writer was still able to say a few words the day after his attack, according to his agent Andrew Wylie. “Salman will probably lose an eye, the nerves in his arm have been severed and he was stabbed in the liver”, alarmed the latter to the New York Times.

Since then, Hadi Matar’s home in New Jersey has been raided and law enforcement has been able to recover computer equipment, according to a report by Franceinfo. On his Facebook account, now deleted, the young man showed his admiration for the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini. The latter is the author of a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, after the publication of the Satanic Verses which set part of the Islamic world ablaze. His translators have also been targeted, like the Japanese Hitoshi Igarashi, stabbed to death in 1991. Since then, the British writer of Indian origin has had to live in hiding, and moved to New York 20 years ago.