A Jordanian Christian writer has been shot dead outside the court where he was to stand trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, the Jordanian state news agency Petra has reported.

Nahed Hattar, a prominent activist well known for his support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, was arrested on August 13 on charges of contempt of religion and inciting sectarian strife, after he shared a caricature that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews.

Authorities said he violated the law by widely sharing the caricature and he was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.