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Creator Of Anti-Muslim Film Being Released From Custody

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in a courtroom sketch done on Sept. 27, 2012.
Mona Shafer Edwards
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in a courtroom sketch done on Sept. 27, 2012.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, whose Innocence of Muslims film sparked deadly protests in Muslim nations in the summer of 2012, is being released from federal custody on Thursday. He'll have served slightly less than the 1-year sentence he was given for violating the conditions of his probation on an earlier bank-fraud conviction.

CNN says the 56-year-old Nakoula has most recently been living in a Southern California halfway house. The online federal prison locator says he's been in San Pedro, Calif.

He was sent to prison last year because the conditions of his probation included not using aliases and not using computers or the Internet (unless approved by his probation officer) for five years. He did those things while producing and distributing his anti-Muslim film.

After the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, and the deaths there of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on Sunday TV talk shows and pointed to the film as being a spark behind the violence.

When it became clear that it had been an organized attack by men with links to terrorist organizations and not a spontaneous protest about the film, Republicans accused the Obama administration of trying to mislead the American public during a presidential campaign. As NPR's David Welna reported last weekend, House Republicans continue to hold hearings about the attack and the administration's response.

Update at 11 a.m. ET, Sept. 27. About His Probation Conditions:

We've added a parenthetical phrase to the post to make clear that Nakoula was barred from using computers or getting on the Internet "unless approved by his probation officer." Here's an excerpt from the 2010 court order, which Wired has put online: "Defendant shall not possess or use a device with access to any online service at any location without the prior approval of the Probation Officer."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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