AMMAN: A gunman on Sunday killed prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, state news agency Petra reported.
Hattar was struck by three bullets before the assailant was arrested, said Petra. Witnesses told Agence France-Presse that a man had opened fire in front of the court in Amman’s Abdali district.
The 56-year-old Christian was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon mocking jihadists on his Facebook account.
He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.
Jordan’s attorney general had imposed a blackout on media coverage of the case.
Hattar removed the cartoon from his Facebook page after it triggered outrage on social media.
The cartoon features an illustration of God under the title “God of Daesh”, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
He explained on Facebook that the cartoon made fun of “terrorists and how they imagine God and heaven, and does not insult God in any way”.
Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighboring Iraq and Syria, and was the target of a June 21 suicide bombing that killed seven border guards.
The kingdom has carried out air strikes targeting IS jihadists and hosts coalition troops on its territory.