News / USA

Man Behind Anti-Islam Film Released From Jail

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California Sept. 15, 2012.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (C) is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California Sept. 15, 2012.
Reuters
— The man behind a film that stoked anti-U.S. protests across the Muslim world was due for release from federal custody in California on Thursday after serving time for probation violations stemming from his role in making the video.

The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, Mark Basseley Youssef, 56, gained public notice for the crudely made 13-minute anti-Islam video he produced in Southern California that portrayed the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and sexual deviant.

The film, circulated online under several titles including The Innocence of Muslims, touched off a torrent of anti-American demonstrations in Arab and Muslim countries, where many consider any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.

The start of the unrest on Sept. 11, 2012, coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Links between the Benghazi assault and Youssef's film have since been debunked.

Youssef, a former gasoline station owner who previously served time for a 2010 bank fraud conviction, was sent back to prison last year after admitting that he breached the terms of his probation in connection with the making of the film.

Federal prosecutors insisted his arrest last September had nothing to do with the film's content but with conduct that violated the terms of his probation, such as his use of aliases and the Internet, in the course of making the video.

Youssef, identified in some public records by his birth name, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, received a 12-month term in November, but earned credit for the six weeks he already had spent in jail since his arrest, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

After a two-month stint at the federal detention center in Los Angeles, Youssef served the bulk of his sentence, about four months, in a federal prison in La Tuna, Texas. He was transferred to an undisclosed Los Angeles-area halfway house in late May to complete his term, Burke said.

He was due to be freed from federal custody altogether on Thursday, but will remain under the supervision of probation officials for the next four years, Burke said.

American cast members said after the video came to light that they had been duped into appearing in a film they believed was supposed to be an adventure drama called Desert Warrior.

At least one actress sued Youssef for fraud and brought a copyright claim against YouTube, seeking a court order to force removal of the clip from the online video site, but a judge refused her request.

Youssef said in a New York Times interview last November that he made the film to reveal what he called "the actual truth'' about the Prophet Mohammad and to raise awareness of violence committed "under the sign of Allah.''

But in a CNN interview last month, Youssef said he "never thought my movie can cause anyone trouble or anyone can get killed from my movie.''

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 27, 2013 11:40 AM
The holy book says, "Have I become your enemy because I told you the truth?" Mark Basseley Youssef is a hero. Going to jail here does make him any less so. As for those who do not understand, the guy was not sent to jail because he did any other wrong than he was supposed to be silent and anonymous during the period. It says, "Federal prosecutors insisted his arrest last September had nothing to do with the film's content but with conduct that violated the terms of his probation".

Which is a vindication for him. Do you think he should be scripting other such movies using the whole 4years in cooler to plan the layout very well so that even fools will not find it difficult to understand he's talking about some prophet? Then it will not achieve its objective. Rather, show it as it is, another jail term may not be savory but you must insist on your right to inform and educate the world about the ills of a religion, barbaric in nature, yet touted as being peaceful. Talk about thinking aloud.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid