An Egyptian court Wednesday convicted in absentia 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, CNSNews.com reports. The case was seen as largely symbolic because the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, are all outside Egypt and 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, "Innocence of Muslims," which was produced by an Egyptian-American Copt. The low-budget film, parts of which were made available online, portrays the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a fraud, buffoon and womanizer. Egypt's official news agency said the courts found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam, and spreading false information -- charges that carry the death penalty.