US prosecutors have charged a man, 24, with the assault and attempted murder of Sir Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak after having emergency surgery to treat the stab wound he suffered in the neck when he was attacked during an event in New York on Friday.
Hadi Mattar, 24, was arrested at the scene and was overnight awaiting arraignment, Maj Eugene Staniszewski of New York state police said. The motive for the stabbing was unclear.
“He was arraigned on these charges last night and remanded without bail.”
Mattar was born in the US to Lebanese parents who emigrated from Yaroun, a border village in southern Lebanon, the local mayor, Ali Tehfe, told The Associated Press.
Andrew Wylie, the Indian-born writer’s book agent, said the news of Rushdie’s condition was “not good”.
“Salman will likely lose one eye, the nerves in his arm were severed and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” he wrote in an email.
Rushdie was forced into hiding after the publication in 1988 of The Satanic Verses — which angered many Muslims — and has since become a champion of free speech in the West.