A Russian court has handed a blogger who played Pokemon Go in an Orthodox church a three-and-a-half year suspended prison sentence.

Ruslan Sokolovsky was found guilty of inciting religious hatred and insulting religious believers.

He was arrested shortly after he posted a video on his blog in August 2016 showing him playing the popular smartphone game in Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, which was built on the site where Tsar Nicholas II and several of his family members were killed in 1918. He has been held in a pre-trial detention centre since October.

In his video, 22-year-old Sokolovsky can be heard mocking Christianity as he described Jesus as the "rarest Pokemon." He published the video in response to warnings that there would be legal consequences for people who played games on their smartphones in churches. Before entering the church, Sokolovsky says that the risk of being arrested is "complete nonsense."

"Who could get offended if you're just walking around with your smartphone in a church?" he says in the video.

Judge Yekaterina Shoponyka of the Yekaterinburg court ruled today that the video showed a "disrespect for society" and "intended to offend religious sentiments." She charged Sokolovsky, who has pleaded not guilty, with inciting religious hatred, the charge which sent two women of Russian punk band Pussy Riot to jail for two years after they performed at an anti-Putin protest in Moscow's largest church.

He was also found guilty of "illegal trafficking of special technical equipment" after a pen with a built-in video camera was found at his home.

Ruslan Sokolovsky
Ruslan Sokolovsky catching Pokémon in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg YouTube