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8 sentenced to death in anti-Islam film, riots

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 7:12 p.m.

CAIRO — An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world.

The case was seen as largely symbolic because the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, are all outside Egypt and are thus unlikely to ever face the sentence. The charges were brought in September during a wave of public outrage in Egypt over the amateur film, which was produced by an Egyptian-American Copt.

The low-budget “Innocence of Muslims,” parts of which were made available online, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon.

The man behind the film, Mark Basseley Youssef, was among those convicted. He was sentenced in a California court earlier this month to one year in federal prison for probation violations in an unrelated matter.

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