St. Petersburg court to review Pokemon Go player’s petition to mitigate sentence
ST. PETERSBURG, February 28 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – A court in St. Petersburg is to examine a petition of videoblogger Ruslan Sokolovsky seeking a mitigation of a suspended term he was given for playing Pokemon Go in a church, the United press service of St. Petersburg courts has told RAPSI.
Sokolovsky seeks the mitigation since a law mitigating punishment for extremism and incitement of hatred and enmity has entered into force.
Last February, the Russian Supreme Court has refused to review Sokolovsky’s case and to send his appeal against his sentence to its Presidium for consideration.
Earlier, the Sverdlovsk Region Court’s Presidium failed to review an appeal filed by Sokolovsky. The court did not find evidence of legal violations committed by lower courts, which is the reason for the Presidium to dismiss the appeal.
On May 22, 2017, Sokolovsky was found guilty of inciting hatred, violation of religious rights and illegal possession of special technical means intended for obtaining secret information. On July 7, a court in Yekaterinburg on Friday reduced the young man’s suspended sentence from 3.5 to 2 years and 3 months.
The blogger insisted on innocence and claimed that said technical means, photo- and video-camera, mounted in the housing of a ballpoint pen, belonged to one Sergey Lazarev who lives in Ukraine. Russian authorities were not able to locate and interrogate Lazarev, his attorney Alexey Bushmakov told RAPSI earlier.
According to investigators, from May 2013 to September 2016, the defendant produced nine video files and placed them on the YouTube. These videos, according to a forensic examination, contain signs of incitement of hatred or hostility, humiliation of human dignity and a group of persons on the grounds of nationality, religion, as well as against members of a particular social group. Placement of these videos on the Internet was qualified by experts as public actions, expressing clear disrespect for society and committed to insult the religious feelings of believers.
In addition, Sokolovsky allegedly used unlawfully acquired special technical means. Investigators believe that he recorded videos through camera in the housing of a ballpoint pen. According to experts, the device corresponds to the category of special technical means intended for secret reception and registration of visual and acoustic information.
The case against Sokolovsky was launched after he had published video on Youtube channel, in which he played the mobile app of the popular Pokemon Go game in Orthodox Church-on-Blood in Yekaterinburg.
Pokemon Go, a videogame with elements of augmented reality for mobile devices, became incredibly popular all over the world.