Acusado de agredir a Salman Rushdie se declara inocente

acusado de agredir a salman rushdie se declara inocente

Manchas de sangre pueden verse en una pantalla mientras el autor Salman Rushdie, detrás de la misma, es atendido tras ser atacado durante una conferencia, el viernes 12 de agosto de 2022, en la Institución Chautauqua en Chautauqua, Nueva York. (Joshua Goodman / Associated Press)

El hombre acusado de atacar a puñaladas al escritor Salman Rushdie se declaró inocente el sábado de los cargos de agresión e intento de asesinato en lo que un fiscal calificó de crimen “planificado”, al tiempo que el reconocido autor de “Los versos satánicos” permanece hospitalizado con heridas graves.

El abogado de Hadi Matar, de 24 años, hizo la declaración en la corte en nombre de su cliente durante una breve audiencia de presentación formal de los cargos en el oeste de Nueva York. Matar compareció vistiendo indumentaria blanca y negra de presidiario y mascarilla blanca. Tenía las manos esposadas por delante.

Un juez ordenó que Matar permanezca detenido sin derecho a fianza después que el fiscal de distrito Jason Schmidt le dijo que el acusado tomó medidas deliberadamente para ponerse en posición para dañar a Rushdie, obteniendo un pase anticipado para el evento en que Rushdie se aprestaba a hablar y llegando un día antes con una identificación falsa.

“Este fue un ataque dirigido, no provocado y planificado previamente contra el señor Rushdie”, sostuvo Schmidt.

El defensor público Nathaniel Barone se quejó de que las autoridades habían tardado demasiado en llevar a Matar ante un juez mientras lo dejaban “atado a un banco en el cuartel de la policía estatal”.

“Tiene ese derecho constitucional de presunción de inocencia”, agregó Barone.

Se acusa a Matar de atacar a Rushdie el viernes cuando al escritor se presentaba en una conferencia en el Chautauqua Institute, un centro educativo y de retiro sin fines de lucro

Rushdie, de 75 años, sufrió heridas en el hígado, en los nervios de un brazo y en un ojo, y estaba conectado a un respirador artificial, dijo su agente Andrew Wylie el viernes por la noche. Agregó que es probable que pierda el ojo herido.

El ataque fue recibido con conmoción e indignación por parte de gran parte del mundo, junto con tributos y elogios para el autor galardonado que durante más de 30 años ha enfrentado amenazas de muerte por “Los versos satánicos”.

Escritores, activistas y funcionarios de gobierno condenaron el ataque y elogiaron a Rushdie por el valor que ha demostrado en la defensa de la libertad de expresión a pesar de los peligros. El autor Ian McEwan, un viejo amigo, dijo que es “un defensor admirable de autores y periodistas perseguidos en todo el mundo”.

El actor y escritor Kal Penn dijo que es un modelo ”para toda una generación de artistas, sobre todo muchos de nosotros de la diáspora del sur de Asia, hacia quienes ha mostrado una increíble cordialidad”.

El presidente Joe Biden dijo el sábado en un comunicado que él y la primera dama Jill Biden estaban “conmocionados y entristecidos” por el ataque.

“Salman Rushdie —con su visión de la humanidad, con su inigualable sentido de la historia, con su negativa a ser intimidado o silenciado— representa ideales esenciales y universales”, se lee en el comunicado. “Verdad. Coraje. Resiliencia. La capacidad de compartir ideas sin miedo. Estos son los elementos básicos de cualquier sociedad libre y abierta”.

Rushdie, nativo de la India que desde entonces ha vivido en Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos, es conocido por su estilo de prosa surrealista y satírico, comenzando con su novela de 1981, ganadora del Premio Booker, “Midnight’s Children”, en la que critica duramente a la entonces primera ministra india Indira Gandhi.

“Los versos satánicos” le atrajo amenazas de muerte a Rushdie tras su publicación en 1988. Muchos musulmanes consideraron blasfema una secuencia de sueños basada en la vida del profeta Mahoma, entre otras objeciones. La novela fue prohibida en Irán, donde el supremo líder ayatolá Rujolá Jomeinini emitió una fetua en 1989 ordenando la muerte de Rushdie.

Los investigadores trataban de determinar si el atacante, nacido una década después de la publicación de “Los versos satánicos”, actuó solo.

El fiscal de distrito Schmidt aludió a la fetua como un motivo potencial para argumentar en contra de la libertad bajo fianza.

“Incluso si este tribunal estableciera una fianza de un millón de dólares, corremos el riesgo de que se cumpla la fianza”, señaló Schmidt.

“Sus recursos no me importan. Entendemos que la agenda que se llevó a cabo ayer es algo que fue adoptado y sancionado por grupos y organizaciones más grandes más allá de los límites jurisdiccionales del condado Chautauqua”, subrayó el fiscal.

Barone, el defensor público, dijo después de la audiencia que Matar se ha estado comunicando abiertamente con él y que pasará las próximas semanas tratando de aprender sobre su cliente, incluyendo si tiene problemas psicológicos o de adicción.

Matar, de Fairview, Nueva Jersey, nació en Estados Unidos de padres libaneses que emigraron de Yaroun, una aldea fronteriza en el sur de Líbano, dijo el alcalde Alí Tehfe en declaraciones a The Associated Press.

Un reportero de la AP vio a un hombre confrontar a Rushdie en el escenario mientras lo presentaban. Comenzó a golpearlo o apuñalarlo unas 10 o 15 veces. El autor fue derribado o cayó al suelo y el hombre fue detenido.

El doctor Martin Haskell, un médico que se encontraba entre los presentes que se apresuraron a ayudar, describió las heridas de Rushdie como “graves pero recuperables”.

El moderador del evento, Henry Reese, de 73 años, cofundador de una organización que ofrece residencias a escritores que enfrentan persecución, también fue atacado. Reese sufrió una herida en la cara, fue atendido y dado de alta en un hospital, dijo la policía. Él y Rushdie habían planeado hablar sobre Estados Unidos como refugio para escritores y otros artistas en el exilio.

___

Italie reportó desde Nueva York. El periodista de The Associated Press Kareem Chehayeb contribuyó a este despacho desde Beirut.

Este artículo fue publicado por primera vez en Los Angeles Times en Español.

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