Salman Rushdie on ventilator, can't speak after attack, agent says
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 agent for renowned author Salman Rushdie said the writer may lose an eye and is on a ventilator Saturday at a New York hospital after he was attacked on stage a day earlier.

Andrew Wiley said Rushdie, who had been in hiding for years after Iranian religious leaders called for his execution for his writing, said the author can’t speak after undergoing surgery.

“The nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was … damaged,” Wylie said, according to Politico.

The suspect, identified as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., rushed the stage and began stabbing and punching Rushdie as he was being introduced before a scheduled lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

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.

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