Egypt’s general prosecutor issued arrest warrants for the creator of the controversial Innocence of Muslims film, Pastor Terry Jones, and six Coptic Christians. A statement released by the prosecutor’s office notes that accused face charges ranging from harming national unity to insulting Islam and spreading false information, The Blaze reports. The accused could face the death penalty if a trial is ever held and a conviction secured.
The Florida preacher who gained notoriety when he burnt a Koran in 2010, promoted the film, according to Der Spiegel magazine statements republished by the New York Daily News. Jones has been barred from entering Germany.
Associated Press excerpts republished by The Blaze conclude that the warrants issued for the Innocence of Muslims alleged creator Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Pastor Jones, and others was a largely symbolic move. All eight individuals are believed to be outside of the Egypt and are unlikely to travel to the country to face charges.
Salafi lawyer Mamdouh Ismail of Egpt had this to say about the prosecutor’s decision to issue arrest warrants:
“Now these are legal measures instead of angry reactions, whose consequences are undetermined.”
The attorney also noted that the action could also serve as a deterrent for the accused and others who may consider committing a similar “offense.”
Although the anti-Islam movie has been largely condemned, there may be political backlash against the Middle East nation for issuing arrest warrants for American citizens who exercised their rights to free speech. As deplorable and disrespectful as the content of the Innocence of Muslims appears to many, the eight individuals did not violate United States laws by creating the motion picture or promoting it with a video trailer on YouTube.