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Russian Prosecutor Demands Jail Time for Man Who Played Game in Church | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 file photo, handcuffed blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky is escorted by police officers in a court building in Yekaterinburg, Russia. (AP Photo/Vladimir Zhabrikov, file)

Yekaterinburg – A Russian state prosecutor asked a court to jail a blogger who played Pokemon Go inside a church for three-and-a-half years on Friday, saying he was guilty of inciting religious hatred, a court employee told Reuters by phone.

Ruslan Sokolovsky, 22, a popular blogger, last August posted a video online of himself playing Pokemon on his mobile phone inside a church in Yekaterinburg.

In the video, which contains strong language mocking Christianity, Sokolovsky likens Jesus Christ to a Pokemon character and says he had decided to play the popular game inside the church because he had seen a news report saying people who did so could be fined or jailed.

Soon after the video appeared, state prosecutors accused Sokolovsky of inciting religious hatred.

TASS news agency quoted the prosecutor saying ” I request that the court sentence him to 3.5 years.”

Sokolovsky, who is currently under house arrest, said “I’m in shock.”
Sokolovsky told the court after listening to the prosecutor, video footage of the proceedings showed.

“I do not consider myself an extremist, maybe I’m an idiot, but not in any way an extremist,” he added.

The court is expected to issue a verdict on May 11.