The alleged assassin of the world-renowned writer Salman Rushdie was officially charged on Thursday. The 24-year-old Hadi Matar was brought before a jury in the afternoon (local time), reports the Reuters news agency. A grand jury is called in to review evidence in possible crime cases and decide whether to press charges.
The defendant faces second-degree attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and second-degree assault, Reuters reports. The alleged perpetrator was silent in court on Saturday, but had his public defender declare him “not guilty”. On Thursday he repeated this statement.
Second-degree murder is a separate offense in the US legal system for the death of a human being. For this, the accused in the state of New York can be sentenced to years in prison. Matar is set to be held without bail until his next court hearing in September.
Rushdie was attacked by a man at an event in Chautauqua, western New York, on Friday. He has since been treated at a hospital in neighboring Pennsylvania. The British-Indian writer has been persecuted by religious fanatics for decades, but the police have not yet confirmed a motive for the attack. (Tsp with dpa)