Salman Rushdie's attacker refused bail; lawyers barred from giving interviews to media
A federal judge in the US on Thursday refused to grant bail to Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old man accused of attempting to murder India-born novelist Salman Rushdie. Moreover, the court directed Matar's lawyers to not give any media interviews.
Judge David W. Foley was hearing the case at Chautauqua County Court where Matar, dressed in a black and white uniform, wearing a mask with his hands shackled pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
Matar's public defender Nathaniel Barone moved a motion for the bail which was promptly shot down by the judge who remanded him to the Chautauqua County Jail.
During the hearing, Barone also asked the judge to do something about the media coverage as it might lead to a prejudiced jury. “He's entitled to a fair trial. He's entitled to due process, no matter what he's accused of,” Barone told the judge.
However, the judge refused to accept the request and instead ordered the lawyers representing Matar to not give any interviews. “No speaking to the press until we have resolved this issue,” said Judge Foley.
A grand jury has already indicted Matar on two counts: attempted second-degree murder, which carries a potential sentence of 25 years in jail, and second-degree assault.
Ever since the stabbing incident, Salman Rushdie has been recovering and recuperating in a Pennsylvania hospital. He is carrying severe wounds which include a damaged liver, severed nerve endings in the arm and an eye that he could very well lose. According to Rushdie's family, the road to recovery might be 'long'.
Meanwhile, Matar during his detenting at the Chautauqua County Jail gave an interview to the Post for the first time since his arrest.
When quizzed whether he acted upon the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini 333 years ago, Matar said:
"I respect the Ayatollah. I think he's a great person. That's as far as I will say about that. I don't like him [Salman Rushdie] very much,"
"He's someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems," Matar added in the video and also said that he had watched YouTube videos of Rushdie.