Man behind anti-Islamic film arrested
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested in California and held without bail.
LOS ANGELES - A California man behind an anti-Islam film that has stoked violent protests across the Muslim world was jailed without bail on Thursday by a federal judge over accusations that he violated terms of his probation on a bank fraud conviction.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, has been under investigation by probation officials looking into whether he violated the terms of his 2011 release from prison on a bank fraud conviction while making the film.
As a condition of his release, Nakoula, a Coptic Christian who most recently lived in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos, was barred from accessing the Internet or using aliases without the permission of a probation officer, court records show.
"The court has a lack of trust in the defendant at this time," Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said in making the ruling, citing a pattern of deception and the possibility Nakoula was a flight risk.
The crudely made 13-minute movie, billed as a trailer, was filmed in California and circulated online under several titles including Innocence of Muslims.
It portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and a sexual deviant.
On September 11 and in the ensuing days, the clip sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest across the Muslim world.
The outbreak of violence coincided with an attack on US diplomatic facilities in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Federal probation officers investigating whether Nakoula, who was brought into the court wearing street clothes with his hands in cuffs and shackled at his waist, violated the terms of his release while making the film.
Federal prosecutors have made eight allegations against Nakoula of violating the terms of his release, including lying to probation officers.
Nakoula's defence attorney had asked a federal judge in Los Angeles that he be given bail of $10,000, but the request was denied.
Nakoula's attorney, Steve Seiden, said on Thursday he was "extremely concerned for Nakoula's safety," suggesting he might not be safe in federal prison in Los Angeles because of the presence of Muslim prisoners there.
Prosecutors countered that Nakoula would actually be safer in custody than on the outside.