16 September 2022

Witness protection order in Sir Salman Rushdie case to be discussed next week

16 September 2022

Sir Salman Rushdie’s alleged attacker will return to court next week, as legal teams argue over whether or not a witness protection order should be granted in his case.

Chautauqua County district attorney Jason Schmidt previously requested the order to keep the identities of potential witnesses secret and has asked the court for more time for evidence in the case to be examined.

Hadi Matar, 24, appeared at Chautauqua County Court in New York state for a fifth time on Friday, having pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges last month.

Judge David Foley scheduled a further hearing for Wednesday September 21, where the DA’s office must turn over the information for which they are seeking the protective order.

This information will be shared with the defence team, but not with Matar.

Sir Salman Rushdie attacker makes second US court appearance (Alamy/PA)

The PA news agency understands that Judge Foley may also make a decision on whether to grant the order at the same hearing.

The judge also indicated on Friday that he will make a decision on the 70-day time extension requested by the DA’s office, though he did not say what it would be.

It is understood a normal time extension for evidence review is only 20 days.

Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was indicted on the charges by a grand jury following the incident on August 12.

He was arrested after allegedly rushing on to the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbing Sir Salman about a dozen times, including in the neck and eye, in front of a crowd.

He was later charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and one count of second-degree assault.

Judge Foley previously refused to grant Matar bail.

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