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Swedish Academy condemns Rushdie's fatwa

"We swiftly decided to do this and swiftly carried it through"
3:09 min
Photo: AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
Salman Rushdie in 1992. Credit: AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

The Swedish Academy has announced it "decries" the death sentence placed on Salman Rushdie in 1989 for writing "the Satanic Verses," taking a public position on a free-speech cause that the Nobel-awarding body had long been silent on.

"Recently, only weeks after the beginning of a normalisation process between Iran and the Western world, the tone again escalated. Forty state-run media outlets grouped together to increase the bounty by an additional USD 600,000. The death sentence and the reward money are flagrant breaches of international law and rules of civilised interaction within the world community and therefore can in no way be compatible with normalisation," the Academy wrote in a press statement on its website.

In 1989 two members of the Academy quit in protest of the body's refusal to publicly condemn the fatwa, which was decreed by Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. The Academy said it was policy not to make political statements.

One of the members who quit, Kerstin Ekman, told Swedish Radio's culture department that it was good the Academy had made the statement.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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