Bangkok Post

‘Pokemon Go’ blogger escapes jail term


YEKATERINB­URG: A Russian court yesterday gave a suspended three-and-a-half year jail sentence to a blogger who was detained after he played the Pokemon Go video game inside a Russian Orthodox church last year.

Ruslan Sokolovsky was found guilty of inciting religious hatred after posting a video on YouTube where he is seen playing Pokemon Go on his mobile phone in the church.

In the video, which contains strong language mocking Christiani­ty, Sokolovsky likens Jesus Christ to a Pokemon character and says he had decided to play the popular game inside the church because he had seen a news report saying people who did so could be fined or jailed.

The video garnered more than 1.9 million views, and Sokolovsky was temporaril­y confined to a pre-trial detention centre.

The court in the Urals region city of Yekaterinb­urg also sentenced 22-year-old Sokolovsky to 160 hours of compulsory community service and told him not to show up in public places.

“I’m content. I won’t play Pokemon, it’s already out of fashion,” Sokolovsky said after the sentencing.

His lawyer said Sokolovsky was unlikely to appeal yesterday’s verdict.

Sokolovsky was met by a group of young people who clapped as he left the Yekaterinb­urg courtroom, including one dressed as a Pokemon character.

A blogger in the crowd, Danila Poperechny, said he was happy that Sokolovsky had escaped prison time but that he was disappoint­ed that the case had been framed in terms of offending believers’ feelings.

Ms Poperechny said: “The guy spent a lot of time in a temporary detention facility literally for thinking differentl­y”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand