Pokemon hunter found guilty of hurting believers' feelings


by Liudmila Klenko

RAPSI, 11 May 2017


The Verkh-Isetskii district court of Ekaterinburg sentenced the videoblogger Ruslan Sokolovsky, who hunted Pokemons in the Ekaterinburg Church-on-the-Blood, to a suspended sentence of 3.5 years in a prison colony, his attorney Aleksei Bushmakov told RAPSI.


Thereby Sokolovsky was found guilty of committing 9 counts of the crime provided for by article 282 of the Criminal Code of the RF (arousing hatred or enmity as well as demeaning human dignity), 7 counts of article 148 of the Criminal Code of the RF (violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religious confessions), and also one count of article 138.1 of the Criminal Code of the RF (illegal trafficking of special technical devises intended for secret collection of information).


"This is an unqualified victory in current Russian reality; Sokolovsky remains at liberty. But we still consider this sentence illegal and unjustified and we will challenge it in the Sverdlovsk provincial court by appellate procedure. From the point of view of the European Convention on Human Rights there are obvious violations, which were committed by law enforcement agencies and the court in this criminal case. We are simply required to turn to the European Court for Human Rights with an appeal against such actions of the court and the investigation, and one of these appeals is already in Strasbourg. It was filed against the unjust detention of Sokolovsky," Bushmakov told RAPSI.


He also clarified that since there was a guilty verdict, Sokolovsky is subject to all the restrictions that are provided for activity allegedly associated with extremism. "This entails both inclusion in the so-called extremism list and blocking of bank accounts, restriction of movement of funds between accounts, impossibility of free travel, and various prohibitions connected with state service and the creation of noncommercial organizations and foundations," the attorney explained.


In the course of debates of the sides, the prosecutor asked the court to sentence Sokolovsky to real prison time.


The defendant did not acknowledge his guilt.


According to information of the investigation, in the period from May 2013 to September 2016, the accused, using access to the news and telecommunication network Internet, prepared and posted on the Internet host YouTube nine videofiles which, according to forensic expert analysis conducted during the course of the investigation, contain indicators of the incitement of hatred or enmity and demeaning of human dignity of groups of persons on the basis of nationality, attitude toward religion, and also affiliation with some social group. At the same time, according to materials of the criminal case, the posting of several of the aforesaid videofiles on the Internet was regarded by experts to be public actions expressing clear disrespect toward society, committed for the purpose of offending the religious feelings of believers.


In addition, according to information of the investigation, the defendant illegally obtained a special technical device, a photo-video recorder mounted in the case of a ballpoint pen. According to the conclusion of an expert, said device falls into the category of special technical devices intended for secret collection and recording of visual and acoustic information. The defendant stored the device in an Ekaterinburg apartment that he himself rented and used as his residence, the press service of the Investigative Committee of the RF reported.


Sokolovsky was subjected to criminal prosecution after he published on his YouTube channel a video in which he played the popular game Pokemon Go in the Orthodox Church-on-the-Blood in Ekaterinburg, using a mobile application. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 May 2017)

Background articles:

Consideration of Pokemon hunter case ends
April 28, 2017
International support for man who hunted Pokemons in church
September 26, 2016

Russia Religion News Current News Items

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