On Tuesday, Egypt’s general prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Pastor Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christians on charges related to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube that some – including many in the administration – claim is the motivation for riots and protests in the Middle East, the Associated Press reported.
According to a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office, the accused face charges of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information, and could face the death penalty, if convicted.
The prosecutor also said that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian living in southern California is among those charged.
Over the weekend, Nakoula, the man believed to be behind the online video, was briefly detained and questioned by authorities in a move that prompted Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds to call for Obama’s resignation.
“By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace,” he wrote.
Although Jones had no hand in producing the video, he told the AP that he was contacted by Nakoula to promote the movie.
“Ultraconservative Salafi lawyer Mamdouh Ismail praised the prosecutor’s decision. While recognizing that the eight will be tried in absentia, Ismail said referring them to trial will help curb public anger,” the Huffington Post reported.
Last week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and American liberals called for the arrest and punishment of those responsible for the online video, including Pastor Jones and Nakoula.
The Associated Press added that the case is “largely symbolic” because all of the accused are believed to be outside Egypt and are unlikely to return to face the charges.
“Instead, the prosecutor’s decision to take legal appears aimed at absorbing at least some of the public anger over the amateur film, which portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon,” the Huffington Post said.
Egyptian President, liberals say filmmakers, pastor should be arrested, punished
Blog: Obama should resign over detention, interrogation of anti-Islam film maker
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