A district court of Yekaterinburg has decided on a suspended sentence of 3.5 years for video blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky. The court took into account positive characteristics, and the fact that Ruslan apologized.
“… to recognize Sokolovsky guilty, and appoint the punishment: 3.5 years. Suspended,” said the judge.
The probation period is 3 years. The blogger was released in the courtroom. The prosecutor was requesting imprisonment for 3.5 years in a corrective labor colony.
The defense has not yet decided whether it was going to appeal the verdict.
“Ruslan will suffer the negative consequences of being recognized as an extremist: problems with banks and so on. The decision on the appeal has not been made yet, we need to consult. To me, it’s a victory. We will study everything in 10 days,” the lawyer told journalists.
Ruslan Sokolovsky was charged with hurting the feelings of believers (Article 148 of the Criminal Code of Russia), inciting hatred or enmity (Article 282 of the Criminal Code of Russia), and illegal trafficking of special technical equipment intended for secret receiving of information (Article 138.1 of the Criminal Code). The persecution began after he published a video how he was playing the game in Pokemon Go in a local church.
The international human rights organization Amnesty International called the criminal prosecution of Ruslan Sokolovsky “an attack on freedom of expression.”