Leftist Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, 56, was shot dead on Sunday outside the Supreme Court in Amman where he was set to be put on trial for contempt of religion over posting an “offensive” cartoon on his personal social media page.
The shooter was arrested by Jordanian police. His identity or affiliations remain unknown.
Hattar, a Christian, was arrested last month after he posted a cartoon on his Facebook profile. The cartoon depicted a bearded man lying in bed with two women, asking God to bring him luxurious food and drinks. It was met angrily by Muslims in Jordan, particularly among followers of Islamist groups.
He was to be tried on charges of religious contempt, humiliating the divine, and inciting sectarian conflict.
After the controversy, Hattar, who refused the charges, removed the cartoon, arguing that it only targeted extremists.
The assassination of Hattar has been condemned by intellectual circles worldwide.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information condemned the act and held Jordanian authorities responsible for the killing, accusing them of arresting him and “inciting rhetoric against” him. The network also demanded that the Jordanian government persecute those who held distortion campaigns against the writer.
Hattar was considered a leading figure in the literary and political movements in Jordon. He was banned from writing in the Jordanian press, but wrote for the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. His rhetoric and writings supported Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.