LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A US judge ordered the alleged filmmaker behind a video that sparked protests across Muslim countries detained without bond Thursday, saying there was a risk he would try to flee.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the alleged director/producer of “Innocence of Muslims,” appeared in court after being arrested for breaching the terms of his probation for a 2010 banking fraud conviction.
Prosecutor Robert Dugdale said the 55-year-old had allegedly made eight breaches, including making false statements to probation officers and using at least three different names.
Judge Suzanne Segal ruled that Nakoula, who has been hiding since protests erupted over his film, be detained without bond, saying he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.
“The court has a lack of trust in this defendant,” she said.
Concerns have been raised for Nakoula’s safety due to the widespread anger his alleged video has provoked among Muslims, and his hastily-arranged court appearance was held under tight security in downtown LA.
The hearing was closed to the public, but journalists and anyone else interested was allowed to follow proceedings via videoconference from a separate building.
Nakoula — allegedly the real identity behind the pseudonym Sam Bacile, listed as the director of “Innocence of Muslims” — was briefly taken into custody earlier this month for questioning by his probation officer.
He was traced to a home address in Cerritos, south of Los Angeles, after international protests erupted against the 14-minute trailer video posted online.
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 set US missions, schools and businesses ablaze.