Man imprisoned for sending Ajit Pai death threats over net neutrality

A man who sent emails threatening to kill the family of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has been sentenced to more than one and a half years in prison.

The emails, sent by Markara Man in late 2017, alleged that Pai had caused a minor’s suicide by repealing net neutrality regulations, and threatened to kill Pai’s family while listing three locations across Arlington.

He also sent an email containing an image of Pai and his family.

“Online threats of violence have real-world consequences,” G Zachary Terwilliger, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement on Friday. “Threatening to actually kill a federal official’s family because of a disagreement over policy is not only inexcusable, it is criminal.”

When traced by the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office said Man also factory reset his cell phone before it could be seized.

Following the controversial net neutrality decision, Pai at the end of last year admitted to Russian interference during the debate.

Around 500,000 comments submitted to the net neutrality discussion had been linked back to Russian accounts, the FCC said in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from The New York Times and BuzzFeed.

Earlier this week, Pai said he also wants to give carriers more power to automatically block robocalls.

(If you’re in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741).

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