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Pokémon Go church stunt could mean hefty jail term for Russian blogger

 

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY GERMAIN MOYON A man plays at the Pokemon GO augmented reality game in central Moscow on August 23, 2016. A compass on the smartphone screen points towards Red Square. As the distance to the target narrows, the camera app pops up and zooms in on a bearded figure in a fur cloak.  compass on the smartphone screen points towards Red Square. As the distance to the target narrows, the camera app pops up and zooms in on a bearded figure in a fur cloak. The routine is familiar to Pokemon hunters obsessed with the ultra-popular Pokemon Go game -- but this is no Pokemon. Instead, it is Russia's brutal 16th-century tsar Ivan the Terrible, or rather, his digital 3D rendition in a new app developed by Moscow authorities.  / AFP / VASILY MAXIMOV / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY GERMAIN MOYON         (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY GERMAIN MOYON
A man plays at the Pokemon GO augmented reality game in central Moscow on August 23, 2016.
A compass on the smartphone screen points towards Red Square. As the distance to the target narrows, the camera app pops up and zooms in on a bearded figure in a fur cloak.

The routine is familiar to Pokemon hunters obsessed with the ultra-popular Pokemon Go game — but this is no Pokemon. Instead, it is Russia’s brutal 16th-century tsar Ivan the Terrible, or rather, his digital 3D rendition in a new app developed by Moscow authorities.

A 22-year-old Russian blogger and Pokémon Go fan could end up being jailed for up to five years, after it was alleged that the man had insulted “religious sensitivities” by playing the game in church.

Ruslan Sokolovsky regularly used his video blog on YouTube to make political comments about secularism and freedom in Russia.

On August 11, he filmed himself playing Pokémon Go in a Yekaterinberg cathedral. The stunt resulted in police searching his home and finding evidence of “incitement to hatred and attacks on the liberty of faith,” Russian authorities claimed.

On Saturday, Sokolovsky was detained for two months, but faces a much longer sentence if convicted.

n July, local reports warned Pokémon Go fans not to play the game in church, voting stations, or on private property. But the young blogger failed to be dissuaded. Sokolovsky asked: “How can one offend by entering a church with a smartphone?”

Pokémon Go fever may be petering out, but it has already attracted criticism from cops around the world—Iran banned the game altogether for national security reasons—and in July, Washington, DC’s Holocaust Museum said that playing the game was inappropriate in a place “which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism.” None of its visitors were threatened with jail time, however.

arstechnica.com
9/5/2016

 

 

 

 

 

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