LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced seven Coptic Christians to death in absentia for making the anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims, which was filmed here in Southern California.

The low-budget short film was produced by 55-year-old Mark Basseley Youssef, who was among those convicted.

Youssef, who has gone by several different aliases, was sentenced to a year in prison in Los Angeles earlier this month for probation violations stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

Several of the film’s actors have said they were unaware of the film’s anti-Muhammad plot. In fact, one of them filed two lawsuits to have the film removed from YouTube.

The makers of the film obtained a one-day permit to shoot the film at a Los Angeles County ranch last year. FilmLA, which handles the permits, says the movie was listed as “Desert Warriors” at the time, according to the Associated Press.

The deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were initially blamed on fallout from the film.


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