Norway Offers Reward for Information in Assassination Attempt Against Publisher

Posted on November 27, 2010

The Norwegian government has offered 500,000 Krone ($71,581.95) reward for new information to help the police solve the attempted murder in 1993 of William Nygaard, who published the Norwegian edition of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. Nygaard, former chief publisher of Aschehoug was shot three times at his home and seriously injured, but the assassin was never brought to justice. Nygaard retired as CEO of Aschehoug this year. Mads Nygaard is the current head of the publishing house.

The Guardian reports that Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of Rushdie's novel, was murdered in 1991. Igarashi was also an associated professor of Islamic culture at the University of Tsukuba. An Italian translator of the novel was also attacked in a murder attempt. The Guardian story says all three cases remain unsolved. The three cases are believed to be linked to a fatwa issued against Rushdie.

Kripos, which is Norway's special investigation unit, has reopened the case after a book by journalist Odd Isungset came out. The book, Who Shot William Nygaard?, alleges that the original investigation was mishandled and lays out a compelling case for accusing an Iranian national who later fled the country. The reward is being offered jointly by the government and the Norwegian Publishers Association, which has expressed fury at the way the investigation was dropped.

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