Russian Blogger Jailed for Playing Pokémon Go in Church Files Appeal

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
21-year-old charged with "enticing religious hatred," ordered to stay in jail until November

Russian blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky has filed an appeal against his arrest after being sent to pre-trial detention in Yekaterinburg for allegedly playing Pokémon Go inside a church. The 21-year-old blogger reportedly posted a video on August 11, which showed him playing the game inside the Church of All Saints. He has been charged with "incitement to hatred and attacks on the liberty of faith."

Sokolovsky has been ordered to stay behind bars until November pending a trial. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

After the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot performed in protest at a Moscow church and recorded a music video there, three members were convicted of the same offense of "incitement to hatred and attacks on the liberty of faith." They were sentenced to two years in prison in 2012, although one had her sentence suspended.

Pokémon Go is already banned in Iran due to security concerns, and developer Niantic Labs disabled the game in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. in August.

The Pokémon Go app launched in select countries including the United States on July 6, and has since launched in more than 50 countries.

Source: Associated Press via ABC News, Ars Technica (Jennifer Baker)

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