The man who sparked protests across the Muslim world with a video mocking the prophet Muhammad was yesterday arrested and jailed for violating his probation.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, has been on probation for a 2010 federal cheque fraud conviction that brought a 21-month prison sentence.Under the terms of his probation, he was not to use computers or the internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.A judge ordered that he be held in jail, as there is a high risk that he could attempt to flee if released on bail.Nakoula was taken into custody on Thursday, according to a U.S. Attorney’s spokesman.
At a U.S. District Court hearing in Los Angeles, judge Suzanne Segal denied him bail, saying he had ‘every incentive to disappear’ and adding: ‘The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time.’Nakoula had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term.He will remain behind bars until another hearing where a judge will rule if he broke the terms of his probation.
The defendant’s attorney Steven Seiden sought to have the hearing closed and his client released on $10,000 bail, adding he was concerned his client would be in danger in federal prison because of Muslim inmates.Protests have erupted around the Middle East over a 14-minute trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims that depicts Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.The trailer was posted to YouTube in July, but the violence did not break out until September 11 and has spread since, resulting in the death of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, alongside three other Americans.
Nakoula, a Christian originally from Egypt, went into hiding after he was identified as the man behind the trailer.The full story about Nakoula and the film is still very unclear.The movie was made last year by a man who called himself Sam Bacile. After the violence erupted, a man who identified himself as Bacile called media outlets taking credit for the film and said it was meant to portray the truth about Muhammad and Islam, which he called a cancer.
The next day, it emerged that ‘Bacile’ was in fact Nakoula, a former gas station owner with a drug conviction and a history of using aliases. Federal authorities later confirmed there was no Bacile and that Nakoula was behind the movie.Before going into hiding, Nakoula acknowledged that he was involved with the film, but said he only worked on logistics and management.A film permit listed Media for Christ, a Los Angeles-area charity run by other Egyptian Christians, as the production company. Most of the film was made at the charity’s headquarters.
Steve Klein, an insurance agent in Hemet and outspoken critic of Islam, has said he was a consultant and promoter for the film.The trailer still can be found on YouTube. The Obama administration asked Google, YouTube’s parent, to take down the video but the company has refused, saying it did not violate its content standards.Meantime, a number of actors and workers on the film have come forward to say they were duped.They say they were hired for a film titled ‘Desert Warrior’ and there was no mention of Islam or Muhammad in the script. Those references were apparently dubbed in after filming was completed.Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has sued to get the trailer taken down. – Dailymail