Some Jordanians are demanding that the government and Prime Minister Mulki resign, after a controversial columnist was assassinated on Sunday.
For the two days following the assassination of Nahed Hattar, citizens have gathered in his hometown and in front of government building, chanting against the regime, and at least one petition holding him responsible has been widely circulated.
Supporters argue that the government failed to protect Hattar and helped create a climate in which suppression of freedom of speech thrived. At protests on Sunday and Monday, crowds chanted “Mulki Out” and “No to the Ikhwan”, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood popular in Jordan, but regarded with suspicion by some. Several former MPs – ousted amid controversy in last week’s national election – were also present at the demonstrations, according to Jordanian news website Khaberni.
Hattar was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse in Amman as he headed to his trial on charges of insulting faith and “provoking sectarian strife”. The charges were brought by the government after he had shared a cartoon depicting a Daesh (ISIS) fighter ordering God to bring him wine and dates in heaven.
Hattar’s killer, an imam, was apprehended at the scene, and although details are unclear it is thought the murder is likely a religiously motivated attack. It was both cheered and condemned by Jordanians on social media and elsewhere.
A petition, started by human rights activist Fadi al Qadi, argued that in leveling charges against Hattar the “Jordanian government failed to have a clear political position committing to the law and priorities of protecting human rights”. It demanded a full investigation into the killing of the Hattar, and at the time of writing has 900 signatures.
Further protests are planned in Amman over the coming days.
Al Bawaba Staff
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