Ruslan Sokolovsky fought the law — and the law won.
The popular Russian YouTuber was convicted Thursday for insulting religious believers and inciting hatred after he filmed a Pokemon Go video in a church.
Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of 3 1/2 years, Russian news agency TASS reported. Sokolovsky, 22, said he was relieved to get a suspended sentence for the same period.
“In general, I’m glad that I remain free,” he told TASS.
In his video, Sokolovsky explains that he decided to film in the church after seeing a news report threatening legal implications for doing so. He recorded it in August, when the augmented reality game became a global phenomenon.
On camera, Sokolovsky walks into the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, catches a few Pokemon, and walks out.
“Who could get offended if you’re just walking around with your smartphone in a church?” he concludes.
Sokolovsky was arrested the following month under Article 282 — incitement of hatred or enmity and humiliation of human dignity — and Article 148 — violation of the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion — of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, according to Amnesty International. He was detained for several months and faced up to five years in prison.
Sokolovsky pleaded not guilty and apologized for the video, TASS reported.