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Salman Rushdie’s stabber rejects plea deal involving terrorism charge with lesser jail term


Hadi Matar, the 26-year-old accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie in 2022, turned down a plea deal on Tuesday that would have reduced his state prison sentence but exposed him to a federal terrorism-related charge, according to his attorney, Nathaniel Barone.
Matar has been held without bail since the attack, which occurred as Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York.The assault left Rushdie blind in one eye and with more than a dozen stab wounds.
The rejected plea agreement would have required Matar to plead guilty to attempted murder in Chautauqua County, resulting in a maximum state prison sentence of 20 years, reduced from 25 years. Additionally, he would have had to plead guilty to a federal charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, which could have added another 20 years to his sentence.
Rushdie, who wrote about the attack and his recovery in a memoir, had been living in hiding for years after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death due to his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
However, the author had reemerged into public life in the late 1990s and had been traveling freely for the past two decades.
Although born in the United States, Matar holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. His mother reported that her son had become withdrawn and moody after visiting his father in Lebanon in 2018.
In his memoir, Rushdie recounted seeing a man running towards him in the amphitheater where he was about to speak about the importance of protecting writers from harm. The author is expected to testify at Matar’s upcoming trial.

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