2019-05-08 10:02:00

St. Petersburg courts reduces sentence for blogger Sokolovsky earlier convicted for playing Pokemon Go in church

St. Petersburg, May 8, Interfax - St. Petersburg's Kuybyshevsky District Court has granted a motion filed by a lawyer for Ruslan Sokolovsky, a Yekaterinburg blogger earlier convicted for insulting believers, to reduce Sokolovsky's sentence.

"The Kuybyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg has considered the motion filed by the attorney to bring the sentence in compliance with the currently applicable legislation under Article 10 of the Russian Criminal Code with regard to convict R. Sokolovsky. The court has granted the motion," the united press service of St. Petersburg courts said.

Given the time already spent in custody and under house arrest, Sokolovsky appears to have now served his sentence.

"We petitioned for Sokolovsky to be relieved from the punishment for extremism, and the public prosecutor supported us in that. As for the two other charges, insulting the feelings of believers and using a pen designed to enable covert data collection, Sokolovsky had served the most part of the sentence as of the day the decriminalizing law took effect. In this regard, the prosecutor asked for six months of freedom restriction and the court ruled accordingly, giving Sokolovsky six months. Hence, the conviction has expunged in this regard, too. Now Ruslan Sokolovsky appears to have no conviction," his lawyer Vitaly Cherkasov told Interfax.

The motion requesting for a commutation of Sokolovsky's sentence was filed after liability for extremism was partly decriminalized. The trial took place in St. Petersburg, because this is where the blogger is now residing.

On May 11, 2017, the Verkh-Isetsky District Court, a first instance court in Yekaterinburg, gave Sokolovsky a suspended sentence of three years and six months in jail. The court found that his correction is possible without actual imprisonment. Sokolovsky was found guilty of nine counts of the offence described in Part 1 of Article 282 of the Russian Penal Code (inciting hatred or animosity, or humiliation to human dignity) and seven counts of the crime described in Part 1 of Article 148 (public acts expressing clear disrespect toward society and those intended to insult religious feelings).

Sokolovsky ran a mobile app to play Pokemon Go in Yekaterinburg's Church upon the Blood. The sentence also said the young man had without authorization purchased a special technical device, a pen with a built-in video recorder, which was found in his apartment by investigators, based on which he was later found guilty of illegal possession of such a device under Article 138.1 of the Penal Code.

The Sverdlovsk Region Court ruled later on July 7, 2017 to reduce Sokolovsky's suspended sentence to two years and three months, reliving him from punishment under Article 138.1 (illegal turnover of special technical devices enabling covert data collection).