Comic Book Legal Defence Fund defends American traveller
The American man was detained on the US/Canadian border after a search of his computer revealed manga that was deemed to be child pornography.
"This incident is the most serious in a trend the CBLDF has been tracking involving the search and seizure of the print and electronic comic books carried by travellers crossing borders," said the not-for-profit organisation in a statement.
"The images at issue are all comics in the manga style. No photographic evidence of criminal behaviour is at issue. Nevertheless, a warrant was issued and the laptop was turned over to police. Consequently, the American has been charged with both the possession of child pornography as well as its importation into Canada.
"As a result, if convicted at trial, the American faces a minimum of one year in prison. This case could have far reaching implications for comic books and manga in North America."
The CBLDF board of directors voted to take on the defence, which will have an estimated cost of $150,000 (£94,000).
Executive director Charles Brownstein said: "It underscores the dangers facing everyone travelling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travellers' rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography."
The man, who is believed to be in his mid-20s, was on his way to visit a friend in Canada.
Earlier this year, Canadian customs confiscated two sets of graphic novels being brought into the country for the Toronto Comics Art Festival.