02:07 - Source: CNN
Jordanian writer killed over controversial cartoon

Story highlights

Nahed Hattar shared a cartoon mocking jihadists' view of heaven

The cartoon prompted an outcry from some Muslim groups

CNN —  

A prominent Jordanian writer facing charges for sharing a “blasphemous” anti-ISIS cartoon that outraged Muslim groups was fatally shot in Amman on Sunday, state news agency Petra reported.

Nahed Hattar, a member of the country’s Christian minority, was shot three times outside a courthouse in the capital where charges against him were being heard.

Public Security Department personnel, who were near the scene of the attack, rushed Hattar to a nearby hospital, but he died from his injuries, Petra reported.

The security forces arrested the attacker and an investigation is underway, Petra reported.

Cartoon ‘abusive to the divine entity’

Hattar, a political commentator and columnist, was remanded in custody last month after sharing a controversial cartoon on Facebook that sparked anger from Muslim groups.

Amman Governor Khaled Abu Zeid ordered that the writer be held for the “blasphemous” Facebook post, Petra reported.

Hattar was charged with the crimes of insulting religion, and inciting “sectarian strife and racism,” for having posted the image, which was deemed as “abusive to the divine entity,” Petra reported at the time.

The cartoon, which Hattar said was intended to ridicule ISIS beliefs, depicted a bearded man in bed with two women in heaven as he instructs God to serve him wine and food.

Hours after sharing the cartoon, Hattar explained on social media that it was aimed at criticizing the twisted view of paradise held by ISIS, according to Randa Habib, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“No one listened,” she tweeted after his killing Sunday.

The slain writer, who was released on bail earlier this month, had been “a controversial figure because of his blunt positions and passionate ideas. His killing is a low criminal act,” Habib wrote.

Hattar had also attracted controversy for writing articles in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Government condemns ‘ignominious crime’

A gag order issued by Jordan’s attorney general in August prevented coverage of the case.

The Prime Minister’s office in Jordan denounced the killing on its official Twitter page Sunday.

Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said he was confident the person responsible for “this ignominious crime” would receive “just punishment.”

Jordan is a leading Arab member of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in neighboring Syria and Iraq, carrying out airstrikes against the terror group and hosting coalition troops on its soil.

CNN’s Ruth Hetherington contributed to this report.