Two pranksters have been jailed after they simulated oral sex near a cathedral in Moscow, Russia.
Ruslani Murodzhonzoda, who is a Tajikistan national also known as Ruslan Bobiyev, and Anastasia Chistova have been jailed for ten months following the incident close to St Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square.
Chistova was wearing a police jacket while kneeling in front of Murodzhonzoda with the world famous cathedral in the background.
Moscow's Tverskoi district court found them both guilty of offending the feelings of religious people despite the pair making an apology on Instagram.
Murodzhonzoda will also be deported to Tajikistan after his sentence.
In a statement, the court said that Murodzhonzoda and Chistova's actions showed a “clear disrespect for society".
Murodzhonzoda is known as an online prankster while his 19-year-old girlfriend Chistova,19 is an Instagram model.
Prior to the sentence, Chistova apologised to people she had offended in a post on Instagram saying she “didn't think” and was simply after “likes and popularity”.
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She continued: “And I have to answer to the fullest extent of the law with my freedom, public condemnation, the disapproval of my parents and people close to me.
“I am very hurt.”
Chistova also claimed that it was Murodzhonzoda who chose the location and he assured her that there was nothing wrong with doing the prank there.
She said: “I just followed him like a dog.”
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The pair had initially been detained in September before their case was heard..
The couple are the first to receive prison time for “insulting religious feelings” under new laws, which had earlier resulted only in fines or suspended sentences.
Russia criminalised insulting the feelings of religious believers in 2013 following anti-Kremlin group Pussy Riot's “Punk Prayer” performance in another Moscow cathedral.
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Murodzhonzoda, who had 100,000 followers before his account was blocked, does not intend to appeal the sentence, according to his lawyer.
Abdullo Davlatov, chairman of the Union of Tajiks of Russia, hit out at what he called a “mild” sentence.
He said: “I would impute him to the maximum, so that he and people of his kind are discouraged.
“His behaviour as a Tajik and a Muslim offends me.”
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