Don’t Play Pokemon GO in Church in Russia, Or You’re Gonna Go to Jail.
Ruslan Sokolovsky posted his clip on YouTube at the height of the game’s popularity in August 2016.
Today (May 11), he was given a given a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence by a court in Yekaterinburg.
Sokolovsky had been detained since October and was facing up to five years in prison.
He told The Guardian following the sentence: “Without the support from reporters, I would possibly have been given a real prison sentence.”
Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak said Sokolovsky’s videos manifested his “disrespect for society” and that he “intended to offend religious sentiments”.
The video shows Sokolovsky playing the game in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg and referring to local news reports that warned people from playing it in Russia’s churches. It has since been watched more than a million times.
He said at the time: “How can one offend by entering a church with a smartphone? I decided to just catch some Pokémon in church because, why not? I believe it’s both safe and not prohibited by law. Let’s go.”
Sokolovsky’s arrest last year was criticised on social media, where his supporters rallied under the hashtag #FreeSokolovsky. Among them were Pussy Riot, who took to Twitter to respond to his suspended sentence.
They wrote: “Ruslan Sokolovsky who caught a pokemon in a church got 3.5 years of probation. Not prison though – and it’s already great news.”