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Anti-Muslim film man due in court


Muslims in India protest over the film (AP)

Muslims in India protest over the film (AP)

Muslims in India protest over the film (AP)

The Californian man behind the anti-Muslim film which sparked violence in the Middle East is expected to be asked by a judge in Los Angeles whether he violated his probation for a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

Federal prosecutors claim that 55-year-old Mark Basseley Youssef has eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officer and using aliases. If Youssef denies those allegations, a judge is then likely to schedule an evidentiary hearing.

Federal authorities say Youssef, who also went by the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was behind the film Innocence Of Muslims. The movie led to violence in the Middle East, in which dozens of people were killed.

Youssef has been in prison since September 28 after he was arrested for the probation violations and deemed a flight risk by a magistrate judge.

He went into hiding after a 14-minute trailer for the movie was posted on YouTube. Angry protests stoked by the film broke out in Egypt and Libya and violence related to the film has spread, killing dozens. Enraged Muslims demanded punishment for Youssef, and a Pakistani cabinet minister has offered a 100,000 dollar (£60,000) bounty to anyone who kills him.

Federal authorities have said Youssef is not behind bars because of the film or its content, which portrays Mohammed as a religious fraud, womaniser and paedophile. They said he has lied about his identity, using different names after he was convicted in 2010 of bank fraud.

Youssef was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He was barred from using computers or the internet for five years without approval from his probation officer, although prosecutors said none of the violations involved the internet.

At least three names have been revealed to be associated with Youssef in the past several weeks. Court documents show Youssef legally changed his name from Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in 2002, but never told federal authorities, who used that as part of the probation violation case against him.

Youssef, an Egyptian-born Christian now a US citizen, sought to obtain a passport in his new name but still had a California driver's licence as Nakoula. He used a third name, Sam Bacile, in association with the film.

Youssef used more than a dozen aliases and opened about 60 bank accounts and had more than 600 credit and debit cards to conduct a cheque fraud scheme.