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'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker set to be released

By Carey Bodenheimer and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 11:36 PM EDT, Tue September 24, 2013
A file image of protests following the release of the film the
A file image of protests following the release of the film the "Innocence of Muslims."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is set to be released Thursday from a federal halfway house
  • He'd been there and in a federal prison for violating his probation in a bank fraud case
  • Those violations came to light amid the uproar over his film, "The Innocence of Muslims"
  • That movie spurred virulent anti-American protests in nations around the Islamic world

(CNN) -- Nakoula Basseley Nakoula -- who a year ago was, arguably, the most hated man in the Islamic world -- will soon be a free man.

The 56-year-old Egyptian-American behind the inflammatory film "The Innocence of Muslims" is set to be released from a residential re-entry facility, or a halfway house, in Southern California on Thursday, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross. He's been there since being released from prison in May.

His incarceration wasn't directly related to the movie he produced, though it did shine a strong spotlight on him in more ways than one. Yet his actions producing "The Innocence of Muslims" did violate the terms of his probation for a 2010 bank fraud violation, authorities found.

Among other things, Nakoula was barred from using aliases -- yet court documents stated that he used at least 17 false names. He was also barred from accessing computers or any device that can access the Internet without approval from his probation officer. "The Innocence of Muslims" notably was posted on the video-sharing website YouTube.

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The film got little attention when it was initially posted online, though things changed considerably when Egyptian media highlighted it in September 2012.

Violent protests subsequently erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Some of the demonstrations targeted U.S. diplomatic missions under the false presumption that the U.S. government was behind the production.

The anger faded, however, particularly after Nakoula's arrest on September 27, 2012.

In an interview last month with CNN's Jake Tapper, Nakoula said he was "shocked" by the uproar -- saying he never thought his movie could cause anyone trouble or get anyone killed.

Filmmaker: Obama administration was irresponsible

A Coptic Christian from Egypt, Nakoula insisted his film is not against Islam, but against terrorism.

He said the movie is political more than religious and claimed to have Muslim friends. "I am against the culture itself, not the religion," he said.

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