A prominent Jordanian writer named Nahed Hattar was facing charges in Amman for sharing a cartoon on Facebook which was deemed offensive to Islam. He was killed outside the courthouse this weekend.

Al Jazeera reports:

Jordan: Nahed Hattar shot dead ahead of cartoon trial

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.

Hattar was struck by three bullets before the unidentified assailant was arrested on Sunday, state news agency Petra reported.

Witnesses and police said Nahed Hattar, 56, was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when the lone gunman shot him at close range.

“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 on condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions.

Hattar, a Christian, was arrested on August 13 after posting a caricature on 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”. It is not known who produced the cartoon.

Here’s a video report. Warning: Some of the content is graphic

The Jordan Times reports that the suspect, who was already in custody, has been identified:

Suspect in Hattar’s murder identified

The authorities on Sunday identified the alleged killer of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar who was gunned down on the steps of the Palace of Justice in Abdali earlier in the day as Riad Ismaeel Abdullah, 49, a resident of east Amman.

Security sources said the suspected killer was known as an extremist…

In his initial confession to authorities, the suspected murderer said he carried out the alleged shooting because of the caricature that Hattar published on his Facebook page, according to media reports.

Witnesses at the site in front of the Palace of Justice, where Hattar was gunned down, described a chaotic scene that emerged after the shooting, around 9.30 am.

“I was helping a woman with some documents when we heard gunshots,” said a man who helps court goers prepare their official documents.

“I looked to my right and I saw the body of a man on the floor next to the courthouse steps so we immediately ran in the other direction fearing for our lives,” the man, who preferred not to be identified, told The Jordan Times.

[Note: Title updated after publication]

Featured image is a screen cap from Twitter.