Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US man behind anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims that led to mass protests in the Middle East has been sentenced to a year in jail for probation violations.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was sentenced by a judge in California after admitting four violations which stem from a 2010 conviction for fraud.
None of the charges was connected with the content of the controversial film, Innocence of Muslims.
Dozens of people died in the Middle East in protests over the film.
US District Judge Christina Snyder said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, must spend 12 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.
Prosecutors had been seeking a two-year sentence.
After the 2010 conviction, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula had served most of a 21-month jail sentence for using more than a dozen aliases and opening about 60 bank accounts to conduct a cheque fraud scheme, prosecutors said.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Innocence of Muslims filmmaker, in jail for probation violations
The Los Angeles Times said that it was while he was in prison that he read the Koran, looking for ways to criticize Islam.
On his release he was barred from using computers or the internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was arrested in September, also goes by the name of Sam Bacile, Nicola Bacily and Mark Basseley Yousseff and is believed to be an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian.
US authorities have said they believe Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was the person behind the controversial film, but have not said whether he was the person who posted it on the internet.
Muslims around the world took to the streets in protest, outraged by the film’s portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man linked to anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked riots across the Muslim world, has been held without bond after a hearing in Los Angeles, California.
A judge said Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was a flight risk and cited a pattern of deception when making his ruling, Reuters news agency reported.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was investigated for violating probation terms after he was released from prison in 2011 for bank fraud.
He has not been detained over the contents of the inflammatory video.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Christian originally from Egypt, allegedly produced the 14-minute trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims. He had been in hiding after the release of the video.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been held without bond after a hearing in LA
After his 2010 conviction, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison and, under the terms of his probation, he was banned from using computers or accessing the internet for five years without an officer’s permission.
US Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said: “the court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time”.
Assistant Attorney Robert Dugdale said the court believed Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was flight risk.
“He has every incentive to disappear,” he said.
A clip from the US-made film was dubbed into Arabic, provoking widespread anger for its disrespectful portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
The film was made on a very low budget, with insults and offensive inferences to the Prophet Mohammad and Islam crudely dubbed on afterwards.
Earlier, the Obama administration had requested Google, the company that owns YouTube, to remove the clip. The technology firm refused, saying the film did not violate its rules.
The clip was uploaded to YouTube in July, but violence only broke out on 11 September, after Arabic TV stations broadcast it.
The clip has not broken any laws in the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution’s first amendment.
Four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya earlier this month.
Meanwhile, some of the actors in the video have come forward to say they were misled. They said had been hired to appear in a film called Desert Warriors, which did not mention Islam or the Prophet Muhammad in the script.
Cindy Lee Garcia, a US actress who appeared in amateur anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims that sparked protests across the Muslim world, is suing the film’s suspected director.
Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into a “hateful” film that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie.
She is also asking a judge to order YouTube to remove the film.
A clip dubbed into Arabic provoked widespread anger for its mocking portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
Innocence of Muslims, which was made in the United States, has sparked protests across the Middle East, North Africa and as far away as Sri Lanka, with some demonstrations turning into destructive and violent riots.
Cindy Lee Garcia accused Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of duping her into Innocence of Muslims that she was led to believe was a desert adventure movie
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, were killed during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
According to Cindy Lee Garcia, the script she received had made no mention of the Prophet Muhammad or made references to religion.
She claims she has received death threats since the video was posted to YouTube, and says her association with the film has harmed her reputation.
In a court filing lodged with Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Cindy Lee Garcia alleged fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Lawyers for Cindy Lee Garcia contend that changes in dialogue during post-production casts her in a false light.
“[Garcia] had a legally protected interest in her privacy and the right to be free from having hateful words put in her mouth or being depicted as a bigot,” the lawsuit says.
“There was no mention of <<Mohammed>> during filming or on set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms Garcia was aware,” it adds.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula denies being “Sam Bacile”, a pseudonym used by the person who posted the video online.
He has gone into hiding after telling US media he was the manager of a company that helped produce the film, but US officials believe him to be the director.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was convicted of fraud in 2010 and ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was released in June 2011 with the provision that he did not access the internet or use any aliases without permission.
Authorities questioned him last week over whether he had violated any of those conditions.
YouTube has so far refused Cindy Lee Garcia’s requests to remove the film, according to the lawsuit, although it has blocked it in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.
“This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,” the complaint states.
Google, which owns YouTube, has blocked the film in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt.
A spokesman for YouTube said they were reviewing the complaint and would be in court on Thursday.