News Column

US Anti-Muslim Film Producer Sentenced to One Year in Prison

Nov. 8, 2012

A Southern Californian man behind an anti-Muslim film, which sparked a deadly uproar across the Middle East earlier this year, was sentenced to a year in prison over violation of his probation terms on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled at a court hearing that Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, must spend 12 months behind bars, followed by four years of supervised release. The Cerritos-based man has languished behind bars for some five weeks.

Youssef admitted to the four counts, including using false identities,out of the eight charges stemming from violation of a probation after he was convicted of bank fraud in June 2010.

Prosecutors dropped four charges in exchange for Youssef's admission. He had faced a possible two-year imprisonment as federal probation officers had recommended.

Youssef, who also used Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as his name, was convicted on bank fraud, identity theft and two other counts more than three years ago. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay 794,700.57 dollars in restitution before he was released in June 2011.

As part of his five-year probation terms, Youssef, who is an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, was ordered not to use aliases to own or use device with access to the Internet without approval from his probation officer. He was also barred from enlisting others to access the Internet for him.

The "Innocence of Muslims," which is made mostly in Youssef's house on a 250,000-U.S.-dollar budget, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and child abuser. He wrote and produced a 14-minute trailer and uploaded the English-language version on YouTube on July 2, followed by a version dubbed in Arabic, court papers filed in a separate case show.

The clip set off violent and outrageous protests in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The violent protest in the U.S. consulate in Libya's Benghazi took the lives of U.S. ambassador in that country along with three other U.S. diplomats.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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