The incarcerated writer/director of controversial anti-Islam movie Innocence Of Muslims has been sentenced to death in his native Egypt.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula uploaded the film's 14-minute trailer on YouTube.com in September (12), sparking violent clashes and anti-American hostilities in the Middle East due to its use of anti-Islam imagery.
He is currently serving a year behind bars in the U.S., where he emigrated in 1986, for violating the terms of his probation relating to a 2010 bank fraud conviction, and this week (begs26Nov12) a judge in his homeland, Saif al-Nasr Soliman, placed the death sentence on the filmmaker's head.
Six other Egyptians who helped make the project were handed the same sentence on charges of "insulting the Islamic religion" and "using religion to promote extremist ideas," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The director is additionally facing legal action from actress Cindy Lee Garcia over allegations he duped her into working on the movie, which was originally billed as a desert epic, and dubbed her voice without permission.
Despite the controversy and the outrage, Nakoula, who also goes by the name of Mark Bassely Youseff, has defended the film, recently telling the New York Times, "I thought, before I wrote this script that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in."