Iranian media outlets add to bounty for killing Britain's Rushdie

Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:26am EST
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By Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA (Reuters) - Iranian state-run media outlets have added $600,000 to a bounty for the killing of British author Salman Rushdie imposed in 1989 over the publishing of his book "The Satanic Verses".

The leader of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that called on Muslims to the kill the author after his book was condemned as blasphemous, forcing him into years of hiding.

Iranian hardliners say Khomeini's decree is irrevocable and eternal after his death. A wealthy Iranian religious organization offered $2.7 million reward to anyone carrying out the fatwa and in 2012 it increased the amount to $3.3 million.

The semi-official Fars news agency published a list of 40 news outlets adding to the pot. Fars itself earmarked $30,000.

"These media outlets have set the $600,000 bounty on the 27th anniversary of the historical fatwa to show it is still alive," Mansour Amiri, organizer of a digital technology exhibition at which the money was announced this month, told Reuters.

Amiri is the head of the Seraj Cyberspace Organisation, which is affiliated to the Basij volunteer militia, allied to the elite Revolutionary Guards established to defend the values of the revolution.

The head of the militia visited the exhibition, Farsi said.

Rushdie's agent said he had no comment. Iran's Foreign Ministry was not immediately available to comment   Continued...

Author Salman Rushdie speaks during the opening news conference of the Frankfurt book fair, Germany October 13, 2015.   REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski