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Jordanian Writer Shot Dead outside Court | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Majed Hattar (R), brother of the Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, speaks to the media during a sit-in in the town of Al-Fuheis near Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Amman- A gunman shot dead Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar on Sunday outside the court where he was to stand trial in Abdali, Amman. Hattar was transferred to a hospital, but he soon passed away.

A Jordanian security officer said that the gunman was arrested. His name is Riyad Ismail Abdullah, born in 1967. Witnesses said he surrendered to the court’s guards.

“The gunman was standing at a distance, holding a silver gun and murmuring. He was wearing a gray dishdasha. The killer shot Nahed Hattar’s chest, causing Hattar to fall to the ground. He then shot him again at various parts of his body,” said Mohammad Jughbeir, who was accompanying Hattar at the time of the attack.

The gunman tried to flee through the garage but Hattar’s son, the security men and a group of citizens chased and arrested him. Jughbeir said that no protection was provided for the writer.

The gunman confessed that he killed Hattar because of the caricature he published, a security source revealed.

Hattar’s family held the Jordanian government and its Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki accountable for the killing of Nahed especially that he had previously received several threats, revealed Hattar’s relative Saad Hattar.

Hattar’s assassination came 17 days after his release following a one-month detention over accusations of contempt of religion.

He previously shared on social media (Facebook) a caricature titled “The God of ISIS Followers.”

He was accused of religious contempt but he denied that. “I am mocking terrorists and their way of picturing God and paradise,” he commented after deleting the cartoon.

Hattar was a fierce defender of the Syrian regime and Bashar Assad; He was targeted in 1998 as part of an assassination attempt.