After 25 Years, Charges Filed in Satanic Verses Shooting

Norway makes the move ahead of deadline so investigation can continue
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2018 10:15 AM CDT
After 25 Years, Charges Filed in Satanic Verses Shooting
Author Salman Rushdie is still under a fatwa issued by Iran for his novel "The Satanic Verses."   (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, file)

Police in Norway just made a move to keep alive the investigation into a 25-year-old shooting that captured the world's attention, reports Reuters. Back in 1993, the man who published Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses in Norway was shot three times outside his home. William Nygaard survived, but no arrests were ever made. This week—two days before a deadline that would have forced police to close the case—authorities finally filed charges, reports the New York Times. However, they're releasing few details, not specifying how many people are charged, their names, or what, if any, evidence exists. About the only thing authorities will say is that they think the shooting is indeed related to the controversy over Rushdie's book and that the suspects are "foreign nationals who are not in Norway," per the AFP.

"This is good news, and one can hope that this 25-year-old case will now finally advance," Rushdie said in a statement, though he criticized the withholding of names and nationalities of the suspects. Nygaard, now 75, also praised the development and said he has no regrets about his decision to publish. As for his unexpected survival despite being shot three times: "I used to be a very good Norwegian ski jumper," he said. Rushdie's book first came out in 1988, and Iran's supreme leader at the time considered it so blasphemous to Islam that he issued a fatwa on Rushdie that forced the author into hiding and remains in effect to this day. As recently as 2016, groups in Iran raised $600,000 to beef up a bounty already estimated to be $4 million. (Read more Satanic Verses stories.)

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