Police Scotland probe JK Rowling death threat from man who praised attempted murder of Salman Rushdie

POLICE Scotland[1] is investigating a death threat made against Harry Potter author JK Rowling by someone who praised the attempted murder of Sir Salman Rushdie. The Edinburgh-based writer had tweeted saying she was "feeling very sick right now" after hearing the news of the attack. "Let him be okay," she added.

A Twitter account in the name of Meer Asif Aziz tweeted back: "Don't worry you are next." After sharing screenshots of the threatening tweet, she said: "To all sending supportive messages: thank you Police are involved (were already involved on other threats)."

.@TwitterSupport any chance of some support? pic.twitter.com/AoeCzmTKaU[2][3]

-- J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 13, 2022[4]

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We have received a report of an online threat being made and officers are carrying out enquiries."

Bosses at Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), the entertainment[5] company behind the film adaptions of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, said they "strongly condemn" the threats made against the author. In a statement shared to the PA news agency, a spokesman for the media conglomerate added: "We stand with her and all the authors, storytellers and creators who bravely express their creativity and opinions. "WBD believes in freedom of expression, peaceful discourse and supporting those who offer their views in the public arena.

"Our thoughts are with Sir Salman Rushdie and his family following the senseless act of violence in New York. "The company strongly condemns any form of threat, violence or intimidation when opinions, beliefs and thoughts might differ." Sir Salman has reportedly been taken off his ventilator and is talking. 

The Indian-born Briton, whose novel The Satanic Verses led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, 65 miles from Buffalo in New York state, when he was attacked. The man accused of stabbing him pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of attempted murder and assault, in what a prosecutor called a "pre-planned" crime[6]. A lawyer for Hadi Matar, 24, entered the plea on his behalf during a formal hearing at a court in western New York.

A judge ordered him to be held without bail after district attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar took steps to purposely put himself in a position to harm Sir Salman, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early with a fake ID. "This was a targeted, unprovoked, pre-planned attack on Mr Rushdie," Mr Schmidt said. Public defender Nathaniel Barone said the authorities had taken too long to get Matar in front of a judge, while leaving him "hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks".

"He has that constitutional right of presumed innocence," Mr Barone added. Sir Salman was stabbed at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen, according to police, before he was taken to hospital. Sir Salman's publisher Penguin Random House said they were "deeply shocked and appalled" by the incident.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend". He added: "Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay."

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "Salman Rushdie has long embodied the struggle for liberty and freedom against those who seek to destroy them. "This cowardly attack on him yesterday is an attack on those values. The whole Labour Party is praying for his full recovery."

Sir Salman began his writing career in the early 1970s with two unsuccessful books before Midnight's Children, about the birth of India, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.

The author lived in hiding for many years in London under a British government protection programme after the fatwa.

References

  1. ^ Scotland (www.heraldscotland.com)
  2. ^ @TwitterSupport (twitter.com)
  3. ^ pic.twitter.com/AoeCzmTKaU (t.co)
  4. ^ August 13, 2022 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ entertainment (www.heraldscotland.com)
  6. ^ crime (www.heraldscotland.com)

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