After weeks in hiding, the American man behind the anti-Islam film that sparked outrage across the Muslim world, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been smoked out and arrested by authorities, American media are reporting this morning.
Mr. Nakoula, 55, a Christian, originally from Egypt, was arrested Thursday for violating terms of his probation, authorities said.
He was taken into custody Thursday, Time.com quoted U.S. Attorney’s spokesman, Thomas Mrozek, as saying.
Mr. Nakoula is scheduled to be arraigned before a U.S. District Court Thursday (Friday morning in Nigeria) in a hearing that is closed to the media and the public.
The California man has been on probation after he was convicted for a 2010 federal check fraud that earned him a 21-month prison sentence.
Under the terms of his probation, he was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without clearance from his probation officer.
But Mr. Nakoula broke the terms of his probation by masterminding the production of “Innocence of Muslims” (a blasphemous, anti-Islam film which portrayed Islam and its Prophet in bad light) and then uploading a 14-minute trailer to YouTube.
The film immediately sparked protests across the world, leading to the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens and three other U.S officials in Libya.
The officials were killed when armed protesters stormed the American consulate in Benghazi, shooting at the building and throwing homemade bombs.
In Nigeria, Muslims protested for days in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and other northern cities.
The film was initially thought to have been made by a certain Sam Bacile, who also uploaded the film to YouTube under that name.
But the AP has since determined that Bacile does not exist and that that it was Mr. Nakoula, who made the amateurish film.
He later acknowledged that he was involved with the movie, but claimed he only provided logistics and management.
The protest that erupted on September 11, two months after the film was uploaded to YouTube, led to the death of about 13 people around the world.
Apart from the four Americans killed in Libya, reports say four other people were killed outside the United States embassy in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.
Tunisia recorded three fatalities; while Sudan had two.
An attack on two American-owned fast food joints in Lebanon also left at least one person dead, reports say.
Across the Middle East, security forces battled protesters with tears gas, stun grenade and rubber bullets.
The killings in Tunisia came after protesters breached the US embassy compound in the capital Tunis. The US embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, also came under intense attack leaving one person dead. The UK and German embassies were also attacked in Tunis.