Russian YouTube Ruslan Sokolovsky is facing up to 3.5 years in jail after playing Pokémon Go in church.
According to Reuters, Sokolovsky is in violation of Russia’s blasphemy bill and faces a fine of up to half a million rubles or the prison sentence itself.
One of the bill’s initiators, Irina Yarovaya, says “actions offending believers’ feelings” are the basis of the legislation, as they’re “harmful for the whole society by creating conflict situation[s] with [them].”
The bill was brought into law in 2013 after popular protest group Pussy Riot played an anti-Putin protest concert in Moscow’s Saviour Cathedral. Sokolovsky took to an Orthodox church in Yekaterinburg to protest and film his own video. Interestingly enough, despite the bill, the church was also an in-game Pokémon Gym.
The Russian prosecutor working on this case is calling for Sokolovsky to be thrown in jail.
“I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability,” the prosecutor said, as reported by the TASS news agency. “There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine … I request that the court sentence him to 3.5 years in a penal colony.”
Sokolovsky appears to be quite remorseful.
“I’m in shock,” he told the court. “I have been in jail, I was there for three months, and it is the doorway to hell.
“I do not consider myself an extremist, maybe I’m an idiot, but not in any way an extremist.”
What do you think of the situation?
Pokémon Go is available no on iOS and Android devices.