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Jordanian writer shot dead outside court before trial over cartoon

Jordanian authorities said he violated the law by widely sharing the caricature. Photograph: (Facebook)

SNTV Amman Governorate, Jordan Sep 25, 2016, 09.14 AM (IST)
Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was shot today minutes before he was to appear in court in Amman's Abdali district for his trial on charges of contempt of religion.

Witnesses said three shots were fired at Hattar before the assailant was arrested.

Hattar had shared on social media a caricature that was seen as "insulting God and Islam" by depicting a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women.

A prominent activist and supporter of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, the 56-year-old was arrested soon after on August 13.

A number of conservative Muslim Jordanians had taken offence to the picture.

Hattar had said that he did not intend to cause offence to Muslims and wanted the cartoon to "expose" the Islamic State. He was also reported as saying that "as a non-believer" he respected "the believers who did not understand the satire behind the cartoon".

Jordan is part of the US-lead coalition fighting the Islamic State.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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