Anti-Islam filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula denied bail

US judge describes man behind video that galvanised globe as danger to community

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 September, 2012, 4:23am


The filmmaker behind the anti-Islamic video that has sparked violence across the globe is behind bars after a US judge ordered that he be arrested and held without bail on suspicion of violating terms of his probation, including allegedly lying about his role in the film's production.

Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal ordered that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula be detained on Thursday, citing a "lengthy pattern of deception" by the man, adding that he poses "some danger to the community". Nakoula, who could face up to three years in jail, was taken into custody.

The hearing occurred amid high security, with the public allowed to watch only through a video feed in a separate courthouse blocks away.

Before his arrest, Nakoula and his family had been in hiding. His lawyer said he had received threats to his safety.

Nakoula, who was on supervised release from a 2010 conviction for bank fraud, faces eight charges of probation violation, including making false statements to authorities about the film Innocence of Muslims.

When probation officials questioned him about the video, Nakoula allegedly said his role was limited to writing the script, and he denied ever using the name "Sam Bacile" in connection with the film, assistant US attorney Robert Dugdale said.

Dugdale said there was evidence that Nakoula's role in making Innocence of Muslims was "much more expansive" than penning the script.

Prosecutors said Nakoula could face new criminal charges for lying to federal officials.

A trailer for the film uploaded on YouTube has outraged Muslims around the world and has become the centrepiece of a debate over the clash between free speech and hate speech.

Arab leaders called on the US to ban anti-Islam insults, while President Barack Obama defended protections for such speech even as he criticised the video as crude and offensive.

Probation officials have recommended a 24-month term for Nakoula, prosecutors said in court. He faces a maximum of three years in prison if found to have violated his parole.