In the first reported court case related to Harold Camping's May 21 Judgment Day campaign, a man from Malawi was convicted for distributing false leaflets.
Saduki Mwambene was given a six-month suspended sentence after he was arrested for handing out documents that proclaimed Judgment Day would come on May 21, a court official told AFP Sunday.
"Police opened a case for him for circulating false documents that threatened the peace and security of citizens," the official told AFP.
The sentence was handed down on Saturday after the 39-year-old man pleaded guilty.
The false leaflets were published by Camping of Family Radio, based in Oakland, Calif., who launched a multimillion advertising campaign last year to warn the public that true believers would be raptured on May 21 while the rest of the world suffered the beginning of Judgment Day.
Doomsday billboards were seen across the U.S. and around the world, including Malawian cities.
Many contributed to the ad campaign, with some of Camping's followers spending their life savings, trusting that the Christian broadcaster's prediction was true.
Camping, 89, had predicted several times before that Judgment Day would come. Regarding the May 21, 2011, date, he maintained that the Bible guarantees it.
Though he expected to be swept up to heaven along with just two percent of the world's population, the day passed quietly and Camping was again left to explain why he was wrong.
The only mistake he admitted to was that he thought Judgment Day would come on the world in a physical manner. But it actually came in a spiritual sense, he said. He also moved the rapture date to Oct. 21 – the day he originally predicted to be the end of the world. Rather than five months of suffering on earth between May and October, he said everything will now happen in one day (Oct. 21) – the rapture and the apocalypse.
Camping's continuous false predictions have been deemed by Christian leaders as not only silly but dangerous. They have maintained that no man can know the day or the hour of Judgment Day or Jesus' return.
Surprisingly, some of his followers have continued to show support and continue to believe in his predictions.
In Malawi, meanwhile, Mwambene told police that he would never be influenced by false prophets again, as reported by AFP.