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Pokémon Go blogger given 3.5 years’ probation for “offending religious believers”

A Yekaterinburg court has given Russian blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky a 3.5-year suspended sentence for “insulting the feelings of religious believers”, inciting hatred or enmity, and illegally bringing in equipment for covert filming. Radio Liberty broadcasted the court’s decision.

“Claims that Sokolovsky is being judged for playing [Pokémon Go] in a church are wrong,” said judge Yekaterina Shoponyak, as she read her verdict.

The prosecution asked that Sokolovsky be sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Sokolovsky denied all charges.

Ruslan Sokolovsky was detained in September 2016 after posting a vlog of himself playing Pokémon Go in Yekaterinburg’s Church of All Saints. Legal experts decided that the blogger had equated Jesus Christ with the game’s characters. Sokolovsky’s other vlogs were also used as evidence against in the case.

When Sokolovsky was searched, authorities also found that he was carrying a pen with a built-in camera. During his trial, the blogger insisted that the pen does not belong to him. He also stressed that the pen is equipped with a light bulb, and not a camera, which would make the device impossible to use for covert shooting.

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