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Russian video blogger facing prison for playing Pokemon Go inside church

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Russian video blogger facing prison for playing Pokemon Go inside church
WATCH: Ruslan Sokolovsky could be sentenced to three years in prison – Sep 9, 2016

MOSCOW – A court in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg has released a video blogger who was sent to pre-trial detention for playing Pokemon Go in a church.

Investigators charged Ruslan Sokolovsky with “inciting hatred” and “insulting religious feelings,” the same offense that sent two women from the Pussy Riot punk collective to prison for two years in 2012.

READ MORE: Russian punk band Pussy Riot whipped by militia in Sochi

Sokolovsky posted a video on his blog showing himself playing the smartphone game in a church built on the supposed spot where the family of the last Russian czar, Nicholas II, was killed.

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“It is not normal, it is not right that a person can be jailed for such a minor thing. I believe it is not right. And I decided to prove it with my own example,” said Sokolovsky. “I think it does not insult believers’ feelings.”

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Insulting religious feelings can be punishable up to three years in jail, according to Russia’s criminal code.

READ MORE: Wanted Michigan man arrested after Pokemon Go leads him to police station

Father Veniamin, a Russian Orthodox priest with the Yekaterinburg diocese said Sokolovsky’s actions were offensive.

“The problem is that he did it on purpose. Even though there were no Pokemon there. But it did not matter, it was a reason to insult [the church],” he said.

A lawyers’ group said on Thursday that the court released the 21-year-old on bail and that he will remain under house arrest at his attorney’s apartment.

— with files from Jenny Sung

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