Writer gunned down outside courthouse
AMMAN, JORDAN >> A prominent Jordanian writer on Sunday was shot dead in front of the courthouse where he had been on trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam.
There were no immediate details on the identity or motive of the gunman. But a witness described the shooter, who was immediately arrested, as wearing a long gray robe and long beard characteristic of conservative Muslims. The shooting was the latest in a string of deadly security lapses in Jordan.
Police and relatives said Nahed Hattar was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when the lone gunman shot him at close range.
“He was standing at a short distance of about one meter in front of Nahed on the stairs of the Supreme Court,” the witness told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions.
The witness said seven shots were fired, and that Hattar was shot in the head. The official Petra News Agency said Hattar was shot three times.
Hattar, 56, was detained in August after sharing a cartoon on Facebook. The caricature depicted a bearded man in heaven, smoking and in bed with two women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews.
Relatives said the cartoon was meant to illustrate what Hattar, a secular Christian, viewed as the twisted religious views of Islamic State extremists.