A Russian blogger arrested for playing Pokemon GO in a church has now been sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He is just the latest person to find themselves in hot water because of the game, with another player having been arrested after visiting a police station PokeStop.
After blogger Ruslan Sovlovsky made a video of himself playing Pokemon GO in the Yekaterinburg Church of All Saints, he was accused of “inciting racial hatred” and was detained as he awaited trial. Two weeks ago, it was revealed that prosecutors were pushing for a sentence of three and a half years and now it seems that they have succeeded, with Sovlovsky being handed a 3.5 year suspended sentence.
Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak found Sovlovsky guilty of several charges. Shoponyak told Russian news agency TASS that these included “violating religious feelings,” as well as “inciting hatred” and the “illegal possession of special technical means – a pen with a video camera.” Though during the trial, the blogger argued that the pen featured a light not a video camera and also apologized to those he had offended by the video.
The blogger’s case has received worldwide attention and was even mocked in an episode of The Simpsons (which was subsequently banned in Russia). As such, many casual gamers and Pokemon GO players are glad that the sentencing was not as as severe as it could have been, as the maximum sentence could have been seven years. It should also be noted that with a suspended sentence, it seems unlikely that Sovlovsky will spend all (or any) of those 36 months in jail.
Others are also hopeful that the controversy around the popular mobile game will die down now. Things seem to have gone a long way since headlines warned of the dangers of playing the mobile title, but lawsuits about playing the game (particularly regarding the legality of playing it in certain states and counties in the United States) are ongoing and security concerns persist with companies even fearing the game will result in the theft of trade secrets. It has been almost a year since the game released, though, and fans may argue that it’s about time the game stopped leading to such divisive moments.
Pokemon GO is available on iOS and Android.
Source: ABC News