The Swedish Supreme Court has acquitted manga translator, Simon Lundström.
Lundström was convicted of possessing child pornography back in 2010, when authorities found suggestive pictures of bobble-headed, cartoon minors on his personal computer. He disputed the ruling, arguing that you need children for child pornography and that drawings aren’t children, but his conviction was upheld by two lower courts, one of which reduced his punishment to a $780 fine and an order that he could no longer offer his services as a “manga expert.”
In both trials, the prosecution argued that the images Lundström possessed could be used to entice children into performing sexual acts, and that real children could have been used as models for the drawings. I’m going to assume that last argument sounded marginally less insane in the original Swedish.
Though the Supreme court insisted that the 39 images Lundström was being charged for did constitute pornographic representations of children, it was forced to admit that there is a distinction between fictional children and their aggravating, real-life counterparts. It also claimed one of the images was realistic enough to constitute full blown child pornography, but admitted that prosecuting Lundström on those grounds would violate his freedom of expression.
“The criminalization of possession of the drawings would otherwise exceed what is necessary with regard to the purpose which has led to the restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of information,” read a statement from the court.
Lundström later released a statement to the press:
“I’m obviously very relieved, in part because it makes life easier for me personally, but most of all I’m generally relieved for Sweden as a whole,” he said. It would have been very hard for me to relate to Sweden as a country if it turned out to be a place that prohibited certain expressions of the imagination.”