Pakistani Muslim protesters burn a US flag du
Pakistani Muslim protesters burn a US flag duAFP photo

A U.S. man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to mass protests in the Middle East was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in jail for probation violations, the BBC reported.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was sentenced by a judge in California after admitting four violations which stem from a 2010 conviction for fraud, said the report.

None of the charges was connected with the content of the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims”, the report noted.

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder was quoted as having said that Nakoula, 55, must spend 12 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release. Prosecutors had been seeking a two-year sentence.

After the 2010 conviction, Nakoula had served most of a 21-month jail sentence for using more than a dozen aliases and opening about 60 bank accounts to conduct a cheque fraud scheme, prosecutors said.

Nakoula, who was arrested in September, also goes by the name of Sam Bacile, Nicola Bacily and Mark Basseley Yousseff and is believed to be an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian. While initial reports claimed that “Bacile” is Jewish and an Israeli, this was later proven to be false.

U.S. authorities have said they believe Nakoula was the person behind the controversial film, but have not said whether he was the person who posted it on the internet.

The film depicting the prophet Mohammed as a thuggish deviant offended many Muslims, and sparked a wave of anti-American protests that have cost several lives and saw mobs burn U.S. missions, schools and businesses.

Several Muslim clerics have offered rewards to anyone who kills Nakoula.