Salman Rushdie, the renowned author who was brutally stabbed at a public event in New York state on Friday - more than three decades after Iran's then-supreme leader ordered for his death - is no longer on a ventilator and his condition is stabilizing, according to his agent and son over the weekend.
Andrew Wylie, his agent, emailed Reuters, "He's off the ventilator, therefore the path to recovery has begun." The recovery period will be lengthy as his injuries are serious, "but his condition is improving."
The controversial 75-year old author Rushdie was scheduled to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on the significance of the United States as a safe haven for persecuted artists when a 24-year-old man allegedly stormed the stage and stabbed him, police disclosed.
After the incident, Rushdie was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, for treatment.
After hours of surgery, Rushdie was placed on a ventilator and was unable to talk as of Friday evening, Wylie had previously reported, adding that he would likely lose an eye and had nerve damage in his arm and liver wounds.
Following the publication of his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses," which some Muslims see as containing blasphemous sections, a bounty was placed on the author's head. In 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for his killing.
Local and federal authorities have not provided any other information regarding the inquiry, including a potential motive.
International authors and politicians have condemned the attack. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Salman Rushdie for centuries, and that state-affiliated media have gloated over the attempt on his life.
Blinken said in a statement, "This is deplorable. The United States and its allies will not waiver in their resolve to confront these kinds of dangers with every available resource."
Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges at a court hearing on Saturday, according to his court-appointed attorney, Nathaniel Barone.
According to NBC New York, a preliminary law enforcement assessment of Matar's social media profiles revealed he was sympathetic to Shi'ite extremism and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Washington accuses the IRGC of conducting a global extremist campaign.