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Court upholds death sentence for Hattar’s killer

By Rana Husseini - Jan 30,2017 - Last updated at Jan 30,2017

AMMAN — The Court of Cassation on Monday upheld December’s State Security Court (SSC) ruling sentencing a 49-year-old man to death for assassinating Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar in front of the Palace of Justice in the capital last September.

The SSC had declared the defendant, Riad Abdullah, guilty of carrying out subversive acts that led to the death of an individual, conducting terrorist acts that could lead to turmoil, premeditated murder and possessing an unlicensed weapon.

The court had also sentenced two men to one year in prison each, for selling the suspect the murder weapon and for facilitating its sale.

“The Cassation Court has upheld the rulings and said that the defendant got what he deserved, because his murder is not consistent with our social norms or traditions and could have resulted in friction within segments of our community,” a senior judicial source told The Jordan Times.

Hattar, who was facing trial for sharing a caricature that was considered insulting to religious beliefs and feelings, was on his way to attend a hearing, accompanied by family members, when he was assassinated in front of the courthouse in late September.

The caricature depicted a bearded man in heaven, smoking and in bed with two women, asking a figure resembling God to bring him wine and cashews.

The convicted killer, a 49-year-old resident of east Amman, was known for his extremist thoughts and behaviour, officials have said.

Abdullah said in his initial statement to police that he “targeted Hattar after hearing that he posted an offensive caricature on his Facebook page and decided to kill him”, according to court papers.

The defendant decided to buy a gun one week before the incident, and on that Sunday he went to the Palace of Justice and “the minute he saw him, he shot him”, the court papers added.

Once a death sentence is upheld by the Court of Cassation, the case is sent to the Cabinet for endorsement and a Royal Decree is then issued to approve the execution.

 

The Court of Cassation was comprised of President of the Court of Cassation Judge Hisham Tal and Judges Mohammad Ibrahim, Naji Zubi, Yassin Abdullat and Mohammad Tarawneh, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

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