Jordanian writer Hattar killed over 'offensive' cartoon

Jordanian writer Hattar killed over 'offensive' cartoon

A Jordanian writer, Nahid Hattar, has been shot dead ahead of a trial in which he faced charges of insulting Islam over an "offensive" cartoon. 

Hattar, 56, was shot outside a court in the capital of Amman yesterday (25th September). A suspect gunman was arrested at the scene, who Jordanian media have identified as Riad Abdullah, a local imam who had been offended by the cartoon, according to the BBC. It reported further security sources had told The Jordan Times the man was known as an extremist.

The cartoon, published on Hattar's Facebook account, depicted a bearded man smoking in bed with two women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. Hattar defended the cartoon last month saying he had wanted to expose radical Islamists' view of heaven.

Hattar turned himself over to authorities mid-August over the matter, where he remained until two weeks ago when he was releaed on bail. 

The government has condemned the killing as a "heinous crime" amid criticism from Hattar's supporters it had created a "hostile environment" that encouraged the violence. A government spokesperson said in a statement: "The government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hatred to our community."

Hattar wrote columns for Lebanese newspaper​ Al Akhbar and, according to Jordanian media, had been arrested in the past over critical writings about the late King Hussein.