Russian Gamer Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Prison for Playing Pokemon Go in Church

Pokemon Go has been sending a lot of foot traffic to churches all around the world. Some churches are embracing it, they’re just happy the game is getting people near the building. Over in Russia, however, they’re pretty upset about a blogger who filmed himself inside of a church playing Pokemon Go. Not only was he arrested, but he was ultimately convicted to serve three and a half years in prison.

“In accordance with the expert evaluation, the court found blogger Sokolovsky guilty of inciting hatred, violating religious feelings and illegal possession of special technical means – a pen with a video camera,” said the judge who was in charge of the case.

Three and a half years in a Russian prison for “violating religious feelings” and allegedly having a pen with a built-in a camera seems more than a little harsh of a punishment.

Sokolovsky’s statement on the punishment is as follows:

“I may be an idiot, but I am by no means an extremist,” he said, in a statement to Meduza, a Russian news site. “A long time ago, people were imprisoned in camps and for longer terms – not for 3.5 years, but for decades – because they [foully] joked, for example, about communism and about Stalin… Now it turns out that they want to imprison me for 3.5 years [in real terms] because [I] obscenely joked about Orthodoxy and about Patriarch Kirill. For me, this is savagery and barbarism. I do not understand how this is at all possible. Nevertheless, as we have seen, it is quite possible indeed.”

As for the charge of carrying a pen with a camera, not only did he say it wasn’t his – but he also says it wasn’t even a camera – it was just a light.

In his initial video, he talks about threats to lock people up for playing Pokemon Go in church, and how ridiculous he thinks that sounds, and so he decided to go play Pokemon Go inside the church to prove a point, and it backfired in the worst way.

Here’s the video that got him in so much trouble, note the thumbs up to thumbs down ratio, it seems like he can’t count on the overwhelming support of fellow Russians on this one: