‘Road to recovery has begun’: Salman Rushdie’s condition heading ‘in right direction’

Sir Salman Rushdie’s injuries remain “severe” after he was stabbed, but his condition is heading “in the right direction”, the author’s agent has said.

The 75-year-old was airlifted to hospital and underwent hours of surgery following the attack on stage in Chautauqua, New York state, on Friday.

His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said: “He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun.

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Witnesses rush to help author after attack

“It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.”

Sir Salman was stabbed about 12 times, including in the face and neck, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office said.

One of the wounds in the facial area caused a puncture to Sir Salman’s eye. Another, to the abdomen, caused a puncture of the author’s liver.

There were also stab wounds to the abdomen and chest area.

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On Saturday, the suspect pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

Hadi Matar, 24, appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, his hands cuffed in front of him.

Hadi Matar, 24, arriving in court. Pic: AP

Hadi Matar, 24, arriving in court. Pic: AP

The attack

Sir Salman, who lives in New York City and became an American citizen in 2016, was due to speak to Henry Reese, from the City of Asylum organisation, a residency programme for writers living in exile under threat of persecution.

They were expected to discuss America’s role as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

He was being introduced at the Chautauqua Institution when a man stormed the stage and began stabbing him.

He fell to the floor as the suspect was pinned down by audience members and staff.

The Satanic Verses

Sir Salman’s book The Satanic Verses was banned in 1988 in a number of countries with large Muslim populations, including Iran, after it was considered by some to contain blasphemous passages.

Thousands protesting in Tehran in 1989 over the publication of Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses. Pic: AP

Protests in Tehran in 1989 over the publication of Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses. Pic: AP

In 1989, Iran’s then leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Sir Salman’s death.

The author lived in exile for years, but told a German magazine earlier this month he believed his life had returned to being “relatively normal”.

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