SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT NEW YORK - Ten Muslim students were on Friday found guilty of unlawfully disrupting a speech given last year by Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports. The students shouted anti-Israeli as the ambassador gave his speech at the University of California, Irvine. The Orange County district attorney's office argued that their disruption counted as planned censorship, which also infringed on the rights of those who came to hear Ambassador Oren speak. A hundred professors at the University of California at Irvine signed a letter asking the attorneys to drop their charges, arguing that it set "a dangerous precedent for the use of the criminal law against non-violent protests on campus." The school disciplined the Muslim Student Union by suspending the group for an academic quarter. The students, who were each convicted on two misdemeanour charges, said they were protesting what they called Israel's crimes against humanity. The students' lawyers say they had a right to protest, but prosecutors said it curbed the ambassador's right to be heard. The 10 could face up to six months in jail, in a case that has sparked a heated debate about free speech. The students stood up one by one, shouting slogans such as: "It's a shame this university has sponsored a mass murderer like yourself." Their supporters say the case has unfairly criminalised student protest. About 150 people attended Friday's hearing at Orange County Superior Court. Some of them were visibly upset when the verdict was delivered, according to media reports. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the university, believed the conviction was heavy-handed. Shakeel Syed, of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said it was "yet another reaffirmation that Islamophobia is intensely and extensively alive and thriving in Orange County".