Salman Rushdie off ventilator and condition improving: Agent

Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was hospitalised on Friday (Aug 12) with serious injuries after being repeatedly stabbed at a public appearance in New York state, is off a ventilator and his condition is improving, his agent said on Sunday.

“He’s off the ventilator, so the road to recovery has begun,” his agent, Andrew Wylie, wrote in an email to Reuters. “It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction.” 

Rushdie, 75, was set to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom at Chautauqua Institution in western New York when police say a 24-year-old man rushed the stage and stabbed the Indian-born writer, who has lived with a bounty on his head since his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses prompted Iran to urge Muslims to kill him.

The suspect, Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a court appearance on Saturday, his court-appointed lawyer, Nathaniel Barone, told Reuters.

Following hours of surgery, Rushdie had been put on a ventilator and was unable to speak as of Friday evening, Wylie said in a prior update on the novelist’s condition, adding that he was likely to lose an eye and had nerve damage in his arm and wounds to his liver.

Wylie did not provide further details on Rushdie’s health in his email on Sunday.

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