British author Salman Rushdie attends the "GQ Awards" at the Royal Opera House in London on September 4, 2012. Rushdie was on a ventilator on Saturday after an attack and surgery on Friday. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault during an arraignment Saturday.
Hadi Matar, 24, was formally charged and ordered held without bail for the attack during the Saturday court appearance, the New York Post reported.
Matar, of Fairview, N.J., allegedly rushed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution where Rushdie, 75, was beginning a lecture on freedom of expression and attacked him Friday morning.
He is accused of stabbing and punching the author without provocation.
"This was a targeted, pre-planned unprovoked attack on Mr. Rushdie," said Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt during the arraignment.
Schmidt revealed that Rushdie suffered three stab wounds to the right side of his neck and four to the stomach.
Rushdie also suffered a puncture wound to his right eye and two puncture wounds to the chest as well as a cut to his right thigh, Schmidt said.
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel said on Friday that the community had been "shaken to its core by an act of violence, which has reverberated across Chautauqua County and Western New York."
Salman's agent Andrew Wiley said the author may lose his right eye and was on a ventilator Saturday at a New York hospital after the attack.
Wiley said Rushdie, who had been in hiding for years after Iranian religious leaders called for his execution for his writing, can't speak after undergoing surgery.
"The nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was ... damaged," Wylie said, according to Politico.
Ralph Henry Reese, the moderator of Friday's event who was onstage when Rushdie was attacked was also hospitalized for injuries to his face. He was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.
"[Rushdie is] one of the great defenders of freedom of speech and freedom of creative expression," Reese said, according to The New York Times.
"The fact that this attack could occur in the United States is indicative of the threats to writers from many governments and from many individuals and organizations."
Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses was banned in Iran in 1988 and considered sacrilegious by some Muslims. In 1989, the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, offering $3 million for Rushdie's death.