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Man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie rejects plea deal, faces longer jail time


NEW DELHI: The accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie during a 2022 attack at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, declined a plea deal on Tuesday that would have reduced his state prison sentence while exposing him to a federal terrorism-related charge. According to the accused’s lawyer Nathaniel Barone, Matar has been held without bail since the incident, where he allegedly stabbed Rushdie multiple times, resulting in severe injuries including blindness in one eye, just as Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture.
The proposed agreement, presented in Mayville, New York, would have required 26-year-old Matar to plead guilty in Chautauqua County to attempted murder, with a reduced maximum state prison term of 20 years instead of 25.Additionally, Matar would have pleaded guilty to a federal charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, which could potentially add another 20 years to his sentence, as per attorneys involved.
Rushdie is listed as a witness for Matar’s upcoming trial, where the details of the case are expected to unfold.
Hadi Matar, born in the United States with dual citizenship in Lebanon, reportedly underwent changes in behavior after a visit to his father in Lebanon in 2018, according to statements from his mother.
Salman Rushdie, known for his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which sparked significant controversy and a fatwa against him in 1989, recounted the attack and his subsequent recovery in his memoir. Despite years in hiding due to threats on his life, Rushdie has since resumed public life and continues to advocate for the safety of writers.
Rushdie wrote in his memoir that he saw a man running toward him in the amphitheater, where he was about to speak about the importance of keeping writers safe from harm. The author is on the witness list for Matar’s upcoming trial.

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