Innocence of Muslims filmmaker given one year in prison

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News
8 November 2012

The producer of the internet film which caused a rash of riots and violent protests in Muslim countries and communities around the world has been jailed.

Mark Youssef, who was using the alias Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been handed a year in prison and four years on supervised release for various probation violations.

[Related story: Anti-Islam filmmaker jailed]
[Related story: Obama TV ad aims to calm Prophet protests]

The violations, which stemmed from an earlier bank fraud charge, mostly surrounded his using aliases despite being forbidden to do so.

The punishment handed down to Youssef was not, however, related to the controversial content of the film itself, though assistant US attorney Robert Dugdale told him that lies about his real identity had harmed others, including the cast and crew who had agreed to be involved.

“They had no idea he was a recently released felon,” he said. “Had they known that, they might have had second thoughts.”

'The Innocence of Muslims' emerged online over the summer, causing widespread offence over its derogatory depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a fool and a sexual deviant.

Many of the actors involved claimed to have been duped into appearing in the budget film, being told it was an adventure film called 'Desert Warrior', while the offensive dialogue was dubbed in later.

Fatwas were issued for Youssef's death, one from a Pakistani cabinet minister, while the anger in the Arab world over the video was addressed directly by both US President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

It's thought that the death of US ambassador in Libya, Chris Stephens, was caused by protests spurred on by the film, while the deaths of 75 others have been attributed.

55-year-old Youssef, a Coptic Christian, was originally from Egypt but lived in Los Angeles and had reportedly served time for manufacturing methamphetamine in the 90s and for bank fraud in 2010.

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