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Nahed Hattar, Jordanian Writer, Shot Dead Outside Courthouse

Image: Nahed Hattar, Jordanian Writer, Shot Dead Outside Courthouse

Protesters shout slogans and hold portraits of prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar during a demonstration in front of the prime minister's offices on Sept. 26. Hattar was shot dead the previous day outside an Amman court. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 26 Sep 2016 11:56 AM

Nahed Hattar, a Jordanian writer, was shot dead outside of a courthouse in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday prior to the continuation of a trial over the posting of a cartoon that some people deemed offensive to Islam.

According to a Jordanian security official, Hattar’s shooter was a former prayer leader at a local mosque who was angered by the cartoon posted to Hattar’s Facebook page, The Associated Press reported.

The cartoon depicts a bearded man in heaven, laying in bed with two women while smoking and asking God to bring him wine and cashews. The cartoon gained a lot of flack because, under Islamic tradition, all depictions of God or the Prophet Muhammad are forbidden, even if they’re not deemed as offensive, the AP noted.

The shooter was identified as 49-year-old Riad Abdullah, who confessed to the shooting and made it clear that he acted alone, the AP noted. Abdullah was charged with premeditated murder, committing a deadly terrorist act and possession of an unlicensed weapon.

Witnesses said Hattar, 56, was walking into the courthouse when the gunman, who was dressed characteristic of a conservative Muslim, shot him at close range, the AP reported.

“He was standing at a short distance of about one meter (yard) in front of Nahed on the stairs of the Supreme Court,” a witness told the AP.

According to the official Petra News Agency, Hattar was shot three times.

“This killer drew his weapon from his briefcase, or the bag he was holding, and shot Nahed Hattar’s chest, causing Hattar to fall to the ground. He then shot at him again, a second, third…,” Mohammad Jughbeir, who was standing close to Hattar at the time of the shooting, said, according to Reuters.

Hattar’s supporters accused Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki of creating an antagonistic environment, which ultimately led to this violent act and others.

“The prime minister was the first one who incited against Nahed when he ordered his arrest and put him on trial for sharing the cartoon, and that ignited the public against him and led to his killing,” Saad Hattar, the writer’s cousin, said, according to the AP.

Nahed was on trial on charges of contempt of religion, Reuters noted.

The Jordanian government released a statement saying, “The law will be strictly enforced on the culprit who did this criminal act and will hit with an iron fist anyone who tries to harm state of law.”

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Nahed Hattar, a Jordanian writer, was shot dead outside of a courthouse on Sunday prior to the continuation of a trial over the posting of a cartoon that some people deemed offensive to Islam.
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Monday, 26 Sep 2016 11:56 AM
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