Russian Blogger Gets Suspended Sentence for Playing Pokemon Go in Church

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A Russian blogger was found guilty of inciting religious hatred after he recorded himself playing Pokemon Go inside a Russian church. A judge found Ruslan Sokolovsky guilty of a number of crimes, including violating religious feelings and illegal possession of special technical means.

Sokolovsky filmed himself playing Pokemon Go at Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg and made several comments deemed critical of the Russian Orthodox Church and its leader. His video was posted to YouTube and has gotten nearly 2 million views. Sokolovsky has repeatedly apologized to anyone offended by his videos.

The judge noted that Sokolovsky's other videos also contributed to his arrest and prosecution. When he was arrested last October, he was also charged with owning a camera pen, which was found at his home. Sokolovsky has been held in a detention facility since his arrest.

While a prosecutor recommended that Sokolovsky be sent to prison, the judge gave him a three and a half year suspended sentence. Provided that Sokolovsky completes community service and "stays away from public places," the 23 year old won't actually have to go to prison.

After the sentencing, Sokolovsky thanked the media for raising awareness about the case, noting that he probably would have actually gone to prison if not for the media's coverage of his case.

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(via the AP)