2017-05-12 10:13:00

Russian Orthodox Church denies Sokolovsky case being Church's trial against him

Moscow, May 12, Interfax - The case of the "Pokemon catcher" Ruslan Sokolovsky should not be seen as the Church's trial against this blogger, Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, said.

"Although the case against the blogger Sokolovsky is not over yet and the judgment in this case has yet to come into effect, we are against attempts to regard this legal process as the Church's trial against this blogger," Kipshidze told Interfax-Religion.

The Church is working on the premise that the state response to Sokolovsky's actions is based "entirely on the norms of secular law and his verdict must be based on the need to protect believers' rights and dignities, as is recognized by current Russian and international law," Kipshidze said.

"Assessing the verdict, its harshness or softness, would be inappropriate. In our view, only the law enforcement authorities of the Russian Federation, including courts, may check a verdict on the subject of compliance or non-compliance with the applicable norms of law. Certainly, such an assessment is beyond the remit of the Church," Kipshidze said.

At the same time, believers, as well as other social groups in Russia, "have the indisputable right to have their dignity protected, including by a secular state," Kipshidze said.

"This right is enshrined, in particular, in current international agreements and resolutions by international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Council," the Russian Church representative said.