Officer says Salman Rushdie suffered ‘deep’ injuries in an August attack and lost sight in one eye and use of one hand.
Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye and use of a hand after attacking the stage at a literary event in western New York in August, his agent said.
Andrew Wylie told Spanish-language newspaper El Pais in an article published Saturday that Rushdie, who is 75, suffered a “relentless” attack that left him with “deep” injuries.
“He’s lost sight of one eye… He had three serious wounds on his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm have been severed. And he still has about 15 wounds in his chest and torso,” Wylie said.
The officer told the paper he could not say whether Rushdie remained in a hospital or talked about his whereabouts.
“He lives… That’s the most important thing,” Wylie said.
Rushdie, who had received several death threats after the publication of his The Satanic Verses, was attacked just as he was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York on August 12.
The novelist was rushed to hospital after sustaining serious injuries during the attack, including nerve damage in his arm, wounds to his liver and the likely loss of an eye, his agent said at the time.
The attack came 33 years after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie following the publication of The Satanic Verses.
Some Muslims saw passages in the novel about the prophet Muhammad as blasphemous.
After Khomeini’s fatwa, Rushdie, who was born in India into a Muslim Kashmiri family, went into hiding under British police protection for nine years.
While the reformist Iranian government of President Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa in the late 1990s, the multimillion-dollar bounty hanging over Rushdie’s head continued to grow and the fatwa was never lifted.
Khomeini’s successor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was suspended from Twitter in 2019 for saying the fatwa against Rushdie was “irrevocable”.
Iran has denied involvement in the August attack.
The man accused of stabbing the novelist, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and second-degree assault.
He is being held without bail in a prison in western New York.
The attack was along the lines of what Rushdie and his agent believed was “the greatest danger… a random person who comes out of nowhere and attacks,” Wylie told El Pais.
“So you can’t protect yourself against it because it’s totally unexpected and illogical,” he said.