A gunman has shot dead prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, Al Jazeera reports. Hattar was assasinated in front the Supreme Court in Amman. The gunman shot the writer three times in the head.

“He was standing at a short distance of about one metre in front of Nahed on the stairs of the Supreme Court,” a witness told the Associated Press news agency.

Hattar was about to stand trial for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. He was arrested on August 13 for posting a caricature in his Facebook account that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. He removed the cartoon shortly thereafter, saying “it mocks terrorists and their concept of God and heaven. It does not infringe God’s divinity in any way”.

Authorities said Hattar violated the law by making the cartoon public. Many Muslims in Jordan took offense in the said post.

PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, condemns Hattar’s assasination. It said religious insult laws must be repealed immediately. Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said, “Use of these laws is making targets of writers, cartoonists, journalists and others who are merely exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

Mr. Tripathi added, “States now have the clearest possible signal to stop bringing such charges and instead to take seriously the obligation to protect freedom of expression – which includes speech which some may find offensive.”

Sources:

Aljazeeracom. (2016). Aljazeeracom. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/jordan-nahed-hattar-shot-dead-cartoon-trial-160925080745317.html

Independentcouk. (2016). The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/nahed-hattar-assassination-jordan-pen-religious-insult-laws-repealed-writer-killed-sharing-cartoon-a7330351.html

Pakistanchristianpostcom. (2016). Pakistanchristianpostcom. http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/detail.php?hnewsid=6098

Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.