A Russian blogger has been arrested for playing Pokémon Go in church. According to a report from The Moscow Times, Ruslan Sokolovsky has been charged with committing extremism and offending religious sensitives. If convicted, he could face multiple years in prison.
Sokolovsky – a popular blogger in Russia – filmed himself playing the augmented reality monster catching game in Yekaterinburg cathedral. “This is complete nonsense,” Sokolovsky says in the above video. “Who could get offended if you’re just walking around with your smart phone in a church?”
According to a report from Destructoid, the blogger has been arrested under the same law that saw protest band Pussy Riot incarcerated. Namely, under Article 282 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code which prohibits “incitement of hatred or enmity, as well as abasement of human dignity.” Sokolovsky has also breached Article 148.2, and been charged with “public actions expressing clear disrespect to society with the aim to insult religious feelings of believers committed in places for religious worship.”
Sokolovsky is currently under house arrest at his lawyer’s residence, and isn’t allowed to contact anyone besides his lawyer and officials conducting the investigation.
Earlier this year, Sokolovsky launched an atheist magazine which sought to “take on the censorship piling on from all sides.” As of the time of writing this story, the website appears to have been pulled down.
This isn’t the first time real world politics put a damper on the monster catching craze. Other Russian officials think Pokémon Go is a western spy tool, while the game was banned outright in Iran over security and religious concerns.