Russian court sentences Meta spokesperson in absentia to six years in prison

A Russian military court sentenced spokesperson Andy Stone in absentia to six years in prison for “publicly defending terrorism,” Reuters reports. Stone’s lawyer reportedly asked for an acquittal and there are plans to appeal the sentence.

A few months after Russian officials placed him on a wanted list and started a criminal investigation, a Moscow court for Stone on several terrorism-related charges in February. It cited Stone’s alleged “promotion of terrorist activities, public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism and public calls for extremist activities.”

The measure follows Russia’s investigative committee opening a probe into Meta in March 2022. It claimed that Stone had incited extremist activity after lifting “a ban on calls for violence against the Russian military on its platforms.” , Stone said Meta was “temporarily” allowing some posts that would have previously been taken down for inciting violence to stay on its platforms, but noted that the company would still outlaw “credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”

In any case, it seems unlikely that Stone will actually spend time behind bars in Russia, unless he were to travel there or to a country that has an extradition treaty with the nation. It’s not uncommon for a person to be or sentenced (often for spying- or hacking-related crimes) in another country and never actually have to deal with those consequences.

Russia has designated Meta as an extremist organization. It blocked access to and soon after commencing its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Engadget has contacted Meta for comment.

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