US sanctions Iranian group that put up bounty on Sir Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie (PA Wire)
Sir Salman Rushdie (PA Wire)

The U.S. is imposing financial penalties on an Iranian-based organization that raised money to target Sir Salman Rushdie, who was violently attacked in August at a literary event in New York.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the 15 Khordad Foundation, which issued a multimillion-dollar bounty for the killing of Rushdie after he wrote The Satanic Verses which some Muslims consider blasphemous.

The action freezes any U.S. assets belonging to the foundation and generally bars Americans from dealing with it. Those dealing in certain transactions with the foundation also risk sanctions.

Rushdie‘s agent says the author has lost sight in one eye and the use of a hand as he recovers from an attack by a man who rushed the stage at the event in western New York.

Author Salman Rushdie is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution (AP/Joshua Goodman) (AP)
Author Salman Rushdie is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution (AP/Joshua Goodman) (AP)

“The United States will not waver in its determination to stand up to threats posed by Iranian authorities against the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press,” said Brian Nelson, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“This act of violence, which has been praised by the Iranian regime, is appalling. We all hope for Salman Rushdie‘s speedy recovery following the attack on his life.”

The man accused of stabbing Sir Salman, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges.

Hadi Matar appeared in court with his defence lawyer Nathaniel Barone (Joshua Bessex/AP) (AP)
Hadi Matar appeared in court with his defence lawyer Nathaniel Barone (Joshua Bessex/AP) (AP)

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, stabbing Sir Salman about a dozen times in front of a crowd, including in the neck and eye.

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.

He entered his pleas on August 18 and later appeared at a brief motion hearing on August 24.

Judge David Foley previously refused to grant Matar bail, according to court papers.