Iran: Eight years of death threats: Salman Rushdie

On 14 February 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the then leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious decree) declaring that the British author, Salman Rushdie, should be executed for having insulted Islam in his novel “The Satanic Verses”. Since then, fearing for his life, the author has been living under constant police protection. Some of those associated with his work have been the victims of arbitrary attacks. A Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi was killed and an Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was seriously injured in July 1991 when they were stabbed in their own countries. The Norwegian publisher, William Nygaard, also survived an attempt on his life in Oslo in 1993. While Amnesty International is not aware of any direct attempt by agents of the Iranian Government to kill Salman Rushdie, it is seriously concerned at the continuing calls for his death by prominent individuals and institutions in Iran, which the Iranian Government appears unwilling to condemn publicly.

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