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A court in St. Petersburg has registered a petition to reconsider the case of blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky, who received a suspended sentence after “catching Pokemon” in a church, according to the joint press service of city courts (OPS).
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In August 2016, Sokolovsky posted a video on YouTube of him playing the Pokemon GO app while serving at the Church on the Blood in Yekaterinburg. The video was accompanied by foul language, stylized as church chants, and at the end of the recording, the blogger ridiculed the foundations of Christianity. The court sentenced Sokolovsky to 3.5 years of probation. Later, the term was reduced to 2 years and 3 months. In addition, Sokolovsky was added to the list of extremists. In January, the blogger’s lawyer, Alexei Bushmakov, told RIA Novosti that he had filed a motion to review the case with the Verkh-Isetsky court in connection with the softening of the article on extremism.
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A petition to review the case was sent to the Kuibyshevsky District Court of the city of St. Petersburg at the place of Sokolovsky’s residence.
“The Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg has registered the petition of the lawyer AV Bushmakov to bring the verdict in line with the current legislation in accordance with Article 10 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in relation to the convicted RG Sokolovsky,” the statement says.
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On December 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law softening Article 282 of the Criminal Code, under which cases of extremism are initiated.
Now it is impossible to initiate a criminal case against people who broke the law for the first time. Moreover, their act should not pose a “serious threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and state security.” Criminal liability only occurs if the violation is committed more than once a year.