Blogger sentenced for playing Pokemon Go in church

Ruslan Sokolovsky was arrested for posting video on YouTube of him playing Pokemon Go inside a Russian Orthodox church.

    Ruslan Sokolovsky had pleaded not guilty during the trial [Reuters]
    Ruslan Sokolovsky had pleaded not guilty during the trial [Reuters]

    A blogger has been given a suspended jail sentence by a court in Russia after he posted a video of him playing the Pokemon Go video game inside a church last year.

    Ruslan Sokolovsky was found guilty of inciting religious hatred inside a Russian Orthodox church after he posted the video on YouTube which has attracted more than 1.9 million views.

    On Thursday, the court also sentenced the 22-year-old to 160 hours of compulsory community service and told him not to appear in public places. 

    Russian prosecutors had earlier called for a three-and-a-half year jail sentence for the blogger in a case that has drawn ire from rights activists.

    Sokolovsky - dubbed a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International - was detained and charged under controversial legislation for "inciting hatred" and "insulting the feelings of religious believers" before being put on trial.

    "There are no grounds to let the defendant go unpunished," Russian news agencies had quoted a prosecutor as saying in court.

    Pokemon Go, jointly developed by Nintendo Co and Niantic Inc, generated masses of followers around the world as players use their phones to capture animated characters that appear in real locations.

    Sokolovsky's treatment has drawn comparisons with the jailing of the Pussy Riot performance artists after they staged a punk performance in a Moscow cathedral in 2012.

    The case has once again highlighted the power of the Russian Orthodox Church under the conservative rule of President Vladimir Putin. 

    South Korean Pokemon Go fans go the distance to play game

    SOURCE: News agencies


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