Russian blogger guilty of playing Pokemon in church

Russian blogger guilty of playing Pokemon in church

Date: 13 May 2017 08:52

A Russian blogger has been found guilty of inciting religious hatred after uploading a video of himself playing Pokemon Go in a church.

Ruslan Sokolovsky, 22, pleaded not guilty in a court in the city of Yekaterinburg.

The prosecution called for him to be imprisoned for 32 months, but he was given a suspended sentence. He had been in detention since October.

Sokolovsky was arrested in 2016, shortly after uploading the video of himself playing the augmented reality game.

In the video he hit out at legal warnings against playing such games in churches.

Before entering the church in the video, Sokolovsky dismisses the risk of being arrested as “complete nonsense”.

On Thursday, he was found guilty of insulting religious believers and inciting hatred, as well as of “illegal trafficking of special technical equipment” when a pen with a hidden camera was discovered in his home.

The prosecution was controversial in Russia, where the mayor of Yekaterinburg described Sokolovsky’s arrest as a “disgrace”.

The mayor, Yevgeny Roizman, said: “You can’t arrest a man for idiocy.”

Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak found Sokolovsky guilty of the same offence for which members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot were jailed in 2012.

Judge Shoponyak had earlier stated that Sokolovsky’s video and behaviour had displayed a “disrespect for society” and that he had “intended to offend religious sentiments.”

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