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Prosecutor demands blogger get 3.5-year jail term for ‘catching Pokemon’ in church

Sokolovsky has been placed under house arrest until August 14, 2017
Roman Sokolovsky Donat Sorokin/TASS
Roman Sokolovsky
© Donat Sorokin/TASS

YEKATERINBURG, April 28. /TASS/. A Russian state prosecutor has demanded that blogger Roman Sokolovsky receive a prison sentence of 3.5 years for playing the Pokemon Go mobile game in a Yekaterinburg church, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability," the prosecutor said. "There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine… I request the court to sentence him to 3.5 years in a penal colony," she added.

According to the prosecutor, a probe is underway into the blogger’s videos. "This information may lead to another criminal case," she pointed out.

Pokemon catcher’s case

In early August 2016, Sokolovsky filmed a video of himself catching Pokemon in Yekaterinburg’s Church on Blood built on the site, where the last Emperor of Russia Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918. The video stirred up a controversy among believers while a criminal case was initiated in accordance with the Russian Criminal Code’s articles citing incitement to hatred and enmity, denigrating human dignity, as well as violating the right to freedom of conscience and religion.

In October 2016, the blogger was taken to a pre-trial detention center for breaching the terms of his house arrest after the young man had posted a video on the Internet though he had been banned from using the web and mobile communications. His defense attorney filed an appeal against this decision but the Sverdlovsk Regional Court rejected it.

On January 19, a new charge was brought against Sokolovsky under an article citing illicit trafficking in technical equipment, with the intent of covertly collecting information, since a pen containing a small camera had been found during a search of his apartment.

Sokolovsky has been placed under house arrest until August 14, 2017.