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Russian blogger found guilty of playing Pokémon Go in church

YOU THINK YOU ARE HAVING A BAD DAY? A Russian blogger has been found guilty of playing Pokémon Go in a church.

If you think about it, playing Pokémon in a church does sound pretty inappropriate, but people have played Pokémon in worse places. They take religion pretty seriously in Russia, and they take crime and punishment pretty seriously too. But the likely punishments here involved either a fine with a lot of zeroes or a three-year prison sentence.

You don’t have to try it out because someone got there before you. Mashable reports that Ruslan Sokolovsky, 22, has caught himself a 3.5 suspended sentence for his troubles. We don’t know what Pokémon he was after but we can tell you that if you are in Russia and see any Pokémon, in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, Russia then you should just walk away and do something else.

The courts found our young man guilty of “inciting religious hatred” and being insulting to religion and people that like it. In a video he called the whole situation “Bullshit”, and questioned “Why the fuck” anyone would get locked up for walking into a church with a cell phone. Prava reported that the video “used obscene vocabulary and ridiculed Christianity.”

He also did some research and found a gym in a Temple, which amused him. The video then shows him catching some more Pokémon before coming outside onto non religious ground and joking that he did not catch the rarest Pokémon of all, “Jesus”, before adding that he doesn’t exist. You can see why the church might take offence, but the potential three-year jail sentence is ridiculous.

Amnesty International is not keen on it at all, but then it is not very keen on Russian civil liberties either. “While some may see Ruslan Sokolovsky’s comments on religion as disparaging, this alone is not enough to prosecute him. Sokolovsky came to the attention of the authorities only when he publicly challenged absurdly harsh Russian legislation that criminalized offending believers’ feelings,” said Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International Russia.

“With Sokolovsky’s conviction, the Russian authorities send a strong message to anyone who wants to challenge the country’s grotesque ‘blasphemy’ law. Make no mistake, this is neither piety nor a genuine effort to protect the freedom of religion in Russia – especially coming after the authorities only last month banned Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is another assault on freedom of expression.” µ



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