- 22-year old Russian blogger lands up in jail for playing 'Pokemon Go' in church.
- Amnesty International accuses Russian government for snubbing free speech.
Kept under house arrest since last summer, the Russiam blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky has now been taken into custody for playing "Pokemon Go" inside a historic Russian Orthodox church. Levying charges of religious hatred, the Russian prosecutors requested the court to sentence the 22-year old for three and a half years.
The blogger had also started an atheist magazine in 2016 and had uploaded a video on Youtube where he was seen roaming about in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg in search of Pokemon on the augmented reality game. However, in the beginning of the video, the youngster warns everyone against playing the game in the church.
He was heard saying in the video, "How can one offend by entering a church with a smartphone? I decided to just catch some Pokemon in church because, why not? I believe it’s both safe and not prohibited by law. Let’s go.”
Not that alone, the blogger was also seen joking at the end of the video. He said, "You know, I didn’t catch the rarest Pokémon that you could find there — Jesus. They said it doesn’t even exist, so I’m not really surprised.”
He was arrested a few weeks later after the video went viral on accounts of inciting hatred, illegally carrying equipment to covert filming, and offending religious offenders.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International condemned the move strongly and called it “farcical attack on freedom of expression”. It also said that the blogger was a "prisoner of conscience".
Expressing his disappointment at the court's order, he said, "I may be an idiot, but I am by no means an extremist."
Russia's anti-extremist laws have been known for unfairly targetting individuals and religious groups for speaking about their beliefs.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:35 PM IST